|Habib al-Adly is accused of contributing to the deaths of anti-government protesters gathered in Cairo [AFP]
Egypt's has referred the country's former interior minister and four aides to court on charges of ordering the shooting of anti-government protesters, state media has reported.
Habib al-Adly is accused over "the premeditated and deliberate killing of some protesters during the demonstrations that erupted on January 25 in Cairo and other provinces," the report by Abdel Magid Mahmud, Egypt's prosecutor general, said.
Four security chiefs detained on March 11 for allegedly allowing the shooting of protesters - Ismail al-Shaer, Adly Fayed, Ahmed Ramzi and Hassan Abdel Rahman - were also indicted.
Al-Adly is currently on trial for fraud as part of a broad investigation by Egypt's new military rulers into corruption under the rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Anti-government protests that erupted on January 25 saw violent clashes between al-Adly''s forces and demonstrators, and left at least 384 people dead and more than 6,000 injured.
Also to face criminal trial are the security chiefs of the provinces of Giza, as well as a large number of officers from 11 provinces, all charged with "killing and wounding protesters," a security official told AFP news agency.
The trial orders follow a wide investigation by the general prosecution in which evidence was collected from families of the dead and police at the demonstrations, the official said.
The move is likely to be hailed by rights and pro-democracy activists who have long accused Egypt's widespread security apparatus of abuse and torture.
Earlier this month, new interior minister Mansur Essawy disbanded the long-feared State Security Investigations, the branch of the interior ministry that monitored political dissent after taking office on a pledge to restore confidence.