x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lawyer alleges Egypt military ruler lied to court for Mubarak

A lawyer for victims in the trial of Hosni Mubarak accused the head of Egypt's ruling military council and the former vice president of lying to the court on behalf of the ousted leader.

CAIRO // A lawyer for victims in the trial of Hosni Mubarak accused the head of Egypt's ruling military council and the former vice president of lying to the court on behalf of the ousted leader.

The 83-year-old former president and some of his top former security officials are facing charges of complicity in the killings of protesters during 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak from power in February. Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and one-time heir apparent Gamal, also face corruption charges in the same case.

The trial lumps together a criminal case that the state prosecutor is conducting on charges of killing protesters and corruption. A civil case against some of the defendants, where lawyers for the victims are seeking compensation for deaths and injuries, is being heard simultaneously in the same courtroom.

On Thursday, the state prosecution demanded the death penalty for Mubarak, his former security chief, and six ex-security officials on charges of killing protesters.

Amir Salem, who represents families of the victims in the civil case, alleged in court that both Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of ruling military council that took power from Mubarak, and former vice president Omar Suleiman both lied in testimony in September.

Mr Salem also introduced a CD as evidence showing armed civilians attacking protesters during the uprising under watchful eyes of Egypt's Republican Guards - an elite force primarily tasked with protection of the president.

"They didn't tell the truth in order to protect the defendants," he told court, referring to Mubarak and his aides.

Field Marshal Tantawi was Egypt's defence minister under Mubarak for 20 years, while Mr Suleiman held the powerful position of intelligence chief for years and was a confidant of Mubarak for two decades.

Field Marshal Tantawi and Mr Suleiman testified under total media blackout. But leaked reports said they both denied knowledge of whether Mubarak had given orders to kill protesters, or even learnt about deaths but failed to give orders to stop the killings.

Another lawyer for the victims, Khaled Abu Bakr, said Mubarak's former interior minister Habib El Adly said during interrogations that he notified Mubarak of killings in Suez and Mubarak did not give orders to stop shooting. El Adly is also on trial with Mubarak on the charges related to killing protesters.

"All the crimes took place with his knowledge. ... We demand the maximum penalty for Mubarak and the rest of the defendants," Mr Bakr said.

Mr Salem described killings of protesters during the uprising as "systematic" and alleged they had Mubarak's consent. He also accused El Adly, the former top security chief, of ordering his forces to use live ammunition against protesters and said, with the help of other regime members, they formed "militia" of outlaws to attack protesters.

As interior minister, El Adly was in charge of the hated police force which used heavy force against protesters in the first few days of the uprising in late January.