Activist Ahmed Douma in grave condition, says wife after prison visit

Imprisoned activist Ahmed Douma is now in extremely critical condition due to medical complications from his ongoing hunger strike, his wife Nourhan Hefzy said after visiting him in prison.

Douma was nearly unconscious when Hefzy arrived to see him and he vomited three times during the short visit, according to a report published on the official page of the Freedom for the Brave campaign. Prison guards had to carry the activist to see his wife, as he was too weak to stand or walk.

Hefzy does not know what measures the prison administration plans on taking to address Douma’s failing health, “But there was an ambulance standing in front of the prison gate and various high-ranking police officers were stationed,” she said.

Douma’s friends have reported that he was transferred to the prison hospital’s intensive care unit, which is allegedly not equipped to adequately treat his severe condition. They have urged the authorities to transfer him to a hospital outside the prison.

Immediate action must be taken, activist Mona Seif of the No to Military Trials Campaign announced in a statement. With Douma’s life on the brink, if something is not done now, “we won’t wake up till it is too late,” she warned.

Douma’s family said the activist’s health has been deteriorating rapidly since he began his hunger strike, and that he is now suffering further from gastrointestinal complications due to an ulcer. Douma was permitted to undergo medical testing at the Qasr al-Aini Hospital last week, but police personnel refused to allow the hospital to admit him.

In September, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) urged prison authorities to provide Douma with immediate medical attention and transfer him to a hospital so his condition could be monitored.

Douma was sentenced to three years in prison for violating the Protest Law. He then joined hundreds of other detainees in a hunger strike demanding the cancelation of the contentious law, and the release of the thousands of detainees who were sentenced under its provisions.

He also faces separate charges stemming from the December, 2011 clashes between security forces and protesters in front of the Cabinet building. Presiding Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata postponed the last hearing in that trial, scheduled for late September, pending a decision on the defense team’s motion that Shehata recuse himself from the case.

Shortly thereafter, lawyer Yasmine Hossam al-Din told Mada Masr that after adjourning the hearing, the judge notified the general prosecution, Health Ministry and Interior Ministry “not to transfer the defendant to any location without permission from the court.”

The lawyer decried the Cairo Criminal Court’s order as “plain murder.”

“What if Douma had entered a coma when the court was not in session? The decision means his life hangs on a thread because of delays, or the court not being in session due to holidays, for example,” Hossam al-Din argued.

She asserted that the case does not fall under Shehata’s jurisdiction, as Douma was already released from custody in this case and is currently detained on separate charges.

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