Mubarak back in court over death of protesters
Egypt's ailing ex-president Hosni Mubarak was back in court yesterday on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters in 2011, with former officials to be questioned over his alleged role.
The 85-year-old former strongman, wearing his trademark sunglasses, was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair for the hearing from a military hospital where he is being detained. It was the seventh hearing in the retrial of Mubarak and his security commanders over the killings of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that overthrew him.
Mubarak was placed under house arrest last month after his lawyer successfully argued that his detention had gone on too long.
Although a technicality, the decision to release him was fraught with symbolism, coming after the ouster and detention of his Islamist successor Mohamed Morsi. Interim prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi ordered Mubarak to be detained immediately after his release.
A court had convicted and sentenced him to life in prison in June last year for complicity in the deaths of protesters, but a retrial was ordered in January after he appealed.
Lawyers for Mubarak, his interior minister and six security commanders now argue that much of the killing during the uprising was carried out by Islamists linked to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
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 yesterday summoned a former head of General Intelligence Services, Murad Muwafi, army general Hassan al-Ruwaini and two other former security commanders.
They will testify in camera for “national security” reasons, the court said. The court adjourned the trial to October 19, when it will begin hearing to their testimony.
Other top military and police commanders had testified in Mubarak’s first trial, largely exonerating him from wrongdoing.