Egypt court rejects activist's request for new judges

An Egyptian court on Saturday rejected a request by prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others charged with assault for new trial judges, a judicial source said.

An Egyptian court on Saturday rejected a request by prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others charged with assault for new trial judges, a judicial source said.

CAIRO – An Egyptian court on Saturday rejected a request by prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others charged with assault for new trial judges, a judicial source said.

The activist's defense team had asked the trial judge to recuse himself because of the presence of disputes between the trial's presiding judge Mohamed Ali al-Fiqi and the defendant and his lawyer.

Abdel-Fattah, a figurehead of the opposition against former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, and the 24 others are being tried on charges of assaulting policemen and staging an unlicensed protest.

The demonstration was staged in November to decry Egypt's longstanding practice of trying civilians before military courts and a new protest law that requires police permission before staging a protest.

According to the law, violators will either be fined or imprisoned – penalties that have provoked outrage on the part of many Egyptian politicians and activists who say the legislation curbs freedoms and gives police free rein to crack down on popular expressions of dissent.

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