Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak has been back in court on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 demonstrations that ousted him.
The 85-year-old former leader was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair from a military hospital to attend Saturday’s hearing.
A court had convicted and sentenced Mubarak to life in prison in June last year, but a retrial was ordered in January after he appealed.
More than 850 people were killed during the 18-day uprising that ended Mubarak’s 30-year reign.
Saturday’s court appearance was Mubarak’s second since he was placed under house arrest last month, after his lawyer argued that his detention had gone on too long.
The decision to release him was fraught with symbolism, coming after the military overthrow and detention of President Mohamed Morsi.
Lawyers for Mubarak, his interior minister Habib el-Adly and six security commanders now argue that much of the killing during the 2011 uprising was carried out by individuals linked to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement along with “foreign elements”.
They demanded the testimony of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who overthrew Morsi and who had served as Mubarak’s military intelligence chief.
The court on Saturday summoned a former head of General Intelligence Services, Murad Muwafi, army general Hassan al-Ruwaini and two other former security commanders.
The court adjourned the trial to October 19, when it will begin hearing testimonies in three sessions until October 21.
Judge Mahmoud el-Rachidi ordered a media blackout of the trial.
Outside the court, around 20 Mubarak supporters gathered for Saturday’s session.
Along with his picture, they also held up portraits of Sisi, who now serves as defence minister after formally handing power to an interim government.
Mubarak’s removal was a pivotal moment in regional democratic upheavals that in Egypt paved the way for Morsi’s Islamist government, which itself lasted only a year before a military coup.
Since he was overthrown on July 3, Morsi has been in custody in a secret location, ahead of a trial on charges of inciting the killings of protesters in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
For Mubarak’s supporters and the much vilified police force, Morsi’s removal came as vindication.
The Muslim Brotherhood had played a key role in overthrowing Mubarak, but is increasingly accused of having used violence during the uprising.
Meanwhile, most Mubarak-era police officers who have been tried for allegedly killing protesters during the revolt were either acquitted or received light sentences.
Since his first court appearance in August 2011, Mubarak has been treated for a range of ailments including a heart condition and depression, and was even reported to have slipped into a coma last year.
His lawyer Farid al-Deeb recently said that Mubarak’s health had improved considerably.