The Fifth Settlement Court reviewed on Monday the trial of Ahmed Abu Gabal, a paramedic and member of the Tahrir Doctors’ Society, and 6 April Youth Movement member Hamada Al-Masry.
Abu Gabal and Al-Masry were arrested on 13 February following clashes between lawyers and policemen outside Boulak Abul Ella Police Station. They are accused of breaking into the police station, attacking a public servant and possessing weapons.
The defendants denied the charges, while their lawyers requested permission to get a copy of the criminal records of the witnesses to the alleged attack. Ahmed Farouk, a Tahrir Doctors’ Society member, claimed that the two eyewitnesses are registered criminals.
They also requested a copy of the reports filed by the police regarding the theft of a police-owned pistol which the defendants were later accused of possessing during their arrests. The lawyers requested as well the summoning of policemen that witnessed the events for further investigation. Farouk stated that the court accepted the lawyers’ requests.
The session resumed amid maximum security presence, though protesters still demonstrated outside the courthouse in solidarity with the detainees.
On Sunday, the Tahrir Doctors’ Society released a statement claiming that the crimes for which Abu Gabal is facing are all fabricated.
“This is just a new episode of the Ministry of Interior’s criminal targeting of the society’s members,” the statement read. Tahrir Doctors’ Society added that such targeting is a form of punishment for their “medical and political independence” and their support of the 25 January Revolution’s demands.
Clashes erupted in February when police forces prevented a lawyer from visiting a detainee. The lawyer was allegedly ill-treated by the police forces and subsequently called fellow lawyers for assistance.
Abu Gabal and Al-Masry arrived with the lawyers to check on the lawyer’s health and offer any necessary medical assistance. They were in turn physically assaulted by police officers and “thugs”, the defendants alleged. The lawyers went to the police station to file a report documenting the attack and the police detained Abu Gabal and Al-Masry “because neither of them were lawyers”.
Abu Gabal was released the next day, while Al-Masry remained in jail until last Saturday for charges pressed against him in a different case. Al-Masry is accused of complicity in the alleged attack against Islamist activist Abdel Rahman Ezz while visiting Mohanad Samir in a hospital in January. Samir, a teenage political activist, was shot near Tahrir Square on 31 December 2012. Al-Masry’s next court session is on Wednesday.