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Egypt activist Ahmed Douma given 3 years in prison for court 'insult'

Ahmed Douma of the April 6 movement has been fined and sentenced by an Egyptian judge for allegedly insulting the court
Hundreds of Egyptians stage demonstrations in Giza, Egypt on 5 December, 2014 (AA)

Egyptian political activist and co-founder of the April 6 movement Ahmed Douma was sentenced on Tuesday to a further three years of hard labour in prison. He was convicted of criticising the presiding judge, in comments posted to his Facebook page.

In the courtroom Douma was given the chance to defend himself against charges relating to protests that took place in December 2011 and asked Judge Mohamed Nagi Shehata - who sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to seven-ten years in prison - if he had a Facebook page.

The judge replied that only people like Douma had Facebook and charged him with "insulting the court."

Social media users have pointed out that Shehata’s alleged Facebook account publicly discloses his opinions against the activists who took part in the 2011 uprising.

After being sentenced, Douma shouted "Down, down, military rule!" from his courtroom cage.

Douma had already been sentenced to three years in prison in December 2013 on charges of organizing an unauthorized and violent protest outside the upper house of parliament in November of that year against the controversial law that restricted public gatherings to 10 people or less without authorisation.

Though activists have attacked the law as a throwback to the era of former leader Hosni Mubarak, President Abdel-Fatah Sisi said the law was meant to protect the rights of protesters.

Douma's defence attorneys were not present during his trial, as they had boycotted the court for its poor treatment of defendants. A defence lawyer was delegated by the court to represent Douma, but he called on the court to swiftly issue the sentence, saying that the outcome is already expected.

The April 6 movement, who had initially supported the ouster of elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in the summer of 2013, have been banned by authorities.

Judge Shehata publicly came under flack from Egypt's lawyers' union last month for "disparaging" and "terrorising" Douma's defence team.

Last week he sentenced 183 Muslim Brotherhood to death over an alleged attack on a police station in which 12 policemen were killed.

Douma’s case was adjourned to 4 February 2015.

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