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Middle East
Mubarak back in court over protester deaths
Trial of former Egyptian president accused of ordering killing of protesters during uprising earlier this year resumes.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2011 11:13



The trial of Hosni Mubarak has resumed to hear more testimonies after police witnesses suggested earlier this week that neither he nor his interior minister gave orders to shoot protesters during the successful uprising against his rule earlier this year.

The trial was adjourned for a day on Monday after scuffles broke out in court between his supporters and opponents.

The former Egyptian president is charged with conspiring to kill protesters and "inciting" some officers to use live ammunition.

Mubarak, who arrived at the court by helicopter, is also accused of abusing power to amass wealth. He denies the charges.
 
Wednesday's hearing for the 83-year-old is the fourth session since the trial begun on August 3.

He has been in hospital since April and attended all three court sessions on a stretcher. Cameras have been barred by the judge from the courtroom.

Also standing trial alongside the ex-president and former interior Minister Habib al-Adli are Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, as well as six police officers.

Lawyers said the court could hear three more witnesses on Wednesday, depending on the time each took.

About 20 protesters shouted abuse at Mubarak and police, some chanting "Hosni Mubarak is a thief."

There was a heavy police presence outside the court to prevent scuffles with Mubarak supporters.

'Changed testimonies'

Lawyers representing families of victims said the police witnesses who testified on Monday gave different answers before the trial.

"They have changed the testimonies they previously gave to the prosecution which makes them unreliable," Amir Salem said.

"My friend dropped dead in Tahrir Square right next to me. He was shot in the head by the police," said Rabia al-Sheikh outside the court.

"Why don't they let us inside to testify. Why are they calling on police to testify and not the people?"

A top police officer told the court on Monday that he was not aware of any order to fire on protesters although he said police were given live ammunition to protect the interior ministry.

General Hussein Saeed Mohamed Moussa, in charge of communications for state security, said he believed the decision to issue arms was taken by a senior police officer, Ahmed Ramzi, who is on trial alongside Mubarak.

Two other police witnesses said they were told to exercise "self restraint" during the uprising.
 
Egypt's justice minister has agreed to let five Kuwaiti lawyers join the Mubarak defence team, the state news agency MENA said.

The Kuwaiti lawyers, who were not allowed into the last session, have said their decision to volunteer for Mubarak's defence was in recognition for his role in supporting a US-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of the Gulf Arab state in 1991.

Source:
Agencies
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