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Talk show host defends Douma in Cabinet clashes trial

Incarcerated activist Ahmed Douma is a “pure son of the revolution,” talk show host Wael al-Ebrashy declared on Sunday as he gave his testimony in the case of the Cabinet clashes of December, 2011.

Douma and 268 other defendants are facing charges of illegal assembly, illegal arms possession, assaulting military personnel, destroying the Institut d’Egypte and vandalizing government buildings during the confrontation.

Ebrashy defended Douma in Sunday’s court session, asserting that the activist did not commit illegal acts during the incident, but rather defended protesters who were attacked in the clashes.

The fact that Douma, who fought for the freedom of Egypt and its people, is now on trial is a sign that the nation is in crisis, Ebrashy argued.

Clashes erupted between protesters and military forces in December 2011 in front of the Cabinet building and dragged on for five days, leading to 17 deaths, according to reports from the field hospital set up at the scene of the violence.

A picture of military forces brutally beating a female protester and stripping her clothes, revealing her blue bra, went viral worldwide. The image became a symbol of the abuses committed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces during its year in power following the removal of former President Hosni Mubarak.

In the midst of the violence, the Institut d’Egypte — which housed a historic archive of books and documents dating to the Napoleonic era — caught fire and most of its contents were destroyed. The source of the fire was never determined.  

In his testimony, Ebrashy said that he saw military personnel on the roof of a building overlooking the clashes making obscene gestures at the protesters. The television presenter said he didn’t personally witness military forces attacking protesters, but saw video documentation of such attacks broadcast on television.

The next session in the trial was scheduled for May 29.

Douma has already been sentenced to three years in prison for protest-related charges in another case, along with April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher and leading member Mohamed Adel.