Egypt’s Court of Cassation on Sunday upheld verdicts against 53 defendants over various charges of violence and damage to public and private properties in the “cabinet incidents” case as it is known in the media.
Sunday’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed. Forty-three defendants were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, nine others to 10 years in prison each, and one to 5 years imprisonment.
In July 2017, the Cairo Criminal Court convicted 53 defendants and cleared 92 others in the case. The verdicts concerned 145 defendants who have been granted a retrial after being tried in absentia among 269 defendants in the same case, convicted by a different court ruling in February 2015.
During the first trial, the court sentenced activist Ahmed Doma and 228 other to life in prison while sentencing 40 others to 10 years in prison each. All the defendants were fined LE 17 million for the damages during the incidents.
The total number of defendants in the case numbered 293, of whom 24 juveniles were referred to Juvenile Court.
The cabinet incidents started on December 16, 2011 when a number of political activists and youth of the revolution declared a sit-in outside the cabinet building in protest against the appointment Kamal al-Ganzouri as prime minister. It turned into bloody clashes in which 18 people were killed and 1,917 injured.
The military forces dispersed the sit-in protesting Ganzouri’s appointment by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Ganzouri had served as prime minister during the Mubarak era. Protesters were also demanding that the SCAF immediately transfer power to a civilian body.
The defendants were accused of resisting authority, arson, theft, breaking into and damaging government buildings and institutions, damaging private and public property, hindering the work of public facilities, and possessing bladed weapons and Molotov cocktails.
Other defendants were accused of possessing and taking drugs, practicing medicine without a license, attempting to break into the Interior Ministry to burn it, damaging and burning vehicles of the Health Ministry and the General Authority for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport as well as private cars on a street close to the cabinet headquarters.
The buildings of the Institut d’Egypte, the cabinet headquarters, the People’s Assembly and Shura Council, and the General Authority for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport were attacked, stormed and partly burned, according to the indictment.
Edited translation from al-Masry al-Youm