Police arrest activist Ahmed Douma
Police have arrested activist Ahmed Abou Douma in an apartment in Cairo, on charges related to the protest near the Abdeen Court on Saturday, the state-owned Al-Ahram portal reported Tuesday.
Shortly after his arrest, Douma tweeted, “I am currently in the Bassatine police station and I don’t know what charges are leveled against me and why I am being arrested."
His wife was reported to have asked for support on her Facebook page following Doma’s arrest. She demanded that lawyers follow him to the police station in Bassatine.
Recently, Douma has criticized the military following its ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last July. On the occasion of the November commemoration of the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud violence, where tens of youth died in clashes between protesters and police, Doma tweeted that he holds Military Chief Commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi responsible for the deaths as he was then a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Sisi has enjoyed wide popularity following his removal of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. For many, he is seen as the de facto ruler of Egypt.
Douma’s latest arrest is one in a long list of detentions. Earlier this year, in April, he was detained on charges of insulting Morsi, who he called a “killer” during a televised interview. Douma was also arrested in 2009 after returning from the Gaza Strip and charged with making an illegal crossing. He was sentenced by a military court to one year in prison.
In 2010, Douma was arrested on charges of assaulting police officers, and also in 2012, following violence that erupted near the Cabinet when protesters objected to the appointment of a Hosni Mubarak-era prime minister.
The 28-year-old activist was reportedly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood until 2007 and has had an active blog.
The Abdeen protest on Saturday was held against the recently passed protest law and in solidarity with the leader of the April 6 Youth Movement, Ahmed Maher, who was handing himself in after receiving an arrest warrant for holding a protest without permission on Tuesday near the Shura Council. After being initially released, Maher was ordered back into detention for a further four days pending investigations.
The Shura Council protest held last Tuesday, in defiance of the recently passed protest law, ended with a forced dispersal by the police, as well as the beating and arrest of tens of activists. On Monday, 23 men were ordered released, leaving one man in custody.
Also in prison is activist Alaa Abd El Fattah who, like Maher, is accused of calling for a protest without permission and for inciting violence. Abd El Fattah was arrested in a violent police raid on his house, during which he and his wife were beaten.
Human rights groups have condemned the arrests and view them as evidence of a harsh crackdown on young activists who voice opinions critical of the military and the government.