Activist Douma’s life at risk pending recusal, says lawyer

Cairo Criminal Court, headed by Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata, postponed Thursday’s session in the Cabinet clashes case, pending a decision on the recusal request filed by activist Ahmed Douma’s lawyer.

Douma was sentenced to three years in prison for protest related charges. He attended the session at 12.30 pm in a wheelchair, on day 28 of his hunger strike.

Lawyer Yasmine Hossam al-Din told Mada Masr that the judge postponed the case and decided to notify the general prosecution, health ministry and interior ministry “not to transfer the defendant to any location without permission from the court.”

The lawyer labeled the case “plain murder” of the defendant. “What if Douma had entered a coma when the court was not in session? The decision, she said, means his life hangs on a thread because of delays or the court not being in session due to holidays, for example.”

She claimed the case does not fall under Shehata’s jurisdiction, as Douma was already released in this case and is currently being detained in another.

Hossam al-Din elaborated that Douma’s health condition is rapidly deteriorating, adding that he currently suffers from gastrointestinal complications due to an old ulcer. He took three medical tests at Qasr al-Aini public hospital two days ago. However, the police personnel accompanying him refused to check him into the hospital, despite previous recommendations made by the National Council for Human Rights.

The hospital also refused Douma’s defense and the Forensic Medical Authority access to his test results, according to the authority’s spokesperson, Hesham Abdel Hamed.

The Forensic Authority had previously commissioned a tripartite committee to inspect Douma’s medical condition upon the court’s request. The committee recommended that Douma be transferred to Qasr Al-Aini hospital for examination, to determine whether or not to transfer him to a hospital outside prison. So far, the committee hasn’t received the medical reports.

Douma is one of the prisoners who started a hunger strike under the movement, “We’re Fed Up,” to demand the release of defendants on pre-trial detention, as well as prisoners under the controversial Protest Law.

The number of hunger-striking prisoners has reached 102, in addition to about 396 people who entered a symbolic hunger strike over the last two days in solidarity with the detainees, according to figures released by the “Freedom For the Brave” movement, advocating for those detained on protest related charges. 

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