x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Prosecution: Mubarak clearly authorised shoot-to-kill policy

The prosecution in the Hosni Mubarak concludes that Egypt's ousted president, his security chief and six police officers were the "actual instigators" of the killing of more than 800 protesters.

CAIRO // The prosecution in the Hosni Mubarak trial said yesterday it has concluded that Egypt's ousted president, his security chief and six top police officers were the "actual instigators" of the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's popular uprising that brought down his regime.

Mubarak and his seven co-defendants are facing charges of complicity in the killings and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said the defendants clearly authorised the use of live ammunition and a shoot-to-kill policy against peaceful protesters. He also complained that the prosecution had to launch its own probe after security authorities ignored the prosecution's requests for help in the inquiry. Prosecutors interviewed hundreds of witnesses, physicians and police officers to build its case.

Mr Suleiman said the decision to use live ammunition was taken on January 27 last year, just before the most violent day of the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on February 11.

Dubbed the "Friday of Rage," January 28 also saw the deployment of army troops in Cairo and across much of the nation, as well as the yet to be explained disappearance of security forces.

The prosecution also showed video of the violence taken by TV stations. They showed police officers loading up their weapons with live ammunition and police vehicles and fire engines chasing protesters and running them over. One video showed a police officer perched on top of a police car and killing a protester with a gunshot to the head.

"The defendants before you in the cage are the actual instigators and are the ones who gave police officers the order to shoot," said Mr Suleiman. He also said that the prosecution has evidence that the regime used "thugs" against the protesters.

"The protesters were peaceful, and it was the police that started firing on them," he said.

He said the interior minister and the country's intelligence agency ignored the prosecution's requests for information on the circumstances surrounding the killings. "They deliberately sought to mislead justice," he said, noting that the widespread disarray in the state at the time of the probe or the wish to protect their own may have been behind the lack of cooperation.

The trial was adjourned to today, when the prosecution is expected to ask for the maximum sentence for the accused.

* Associated Press with additional reporting by Agence France-Presse