Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in his jail cell..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Egyptian court postponed to Nov. 29 its verdict on whether former president Hosni Mubarak ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his three-decade rule.
Before adjourning the hearing on Saturday, the judge said he and members of the prosecution team had not finished reviewing all the evidence in the case, which amounted to 160,000 pages.
A TV screen in the courtroom showed thousands of documents related to the case piled up in folders and bound with string.
Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six other senior security officers are accused of ordering the killings of more than 800 protesters, sowing chaos and creating a security vacuum during the 18-day revolt. They deny the charges.
The former strongman and Adly were both sentenced to life in prison in 2012 after being convicted in the case but an appeals court subsequently ordered a retrial.
Many Egyptians who lived through his autocracy and crony capitalism considered it a victory to see Mubarak behind bars.
His overthrow led to Egypt's first free leadership election but the winner, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted last year by the army and some Mubarak-era figures have since been released, raising fears among activists that the old regime was regaining influence.
Mubarak, 86, arrived at the court in a medical helicopter and was wheeled off the back on a stretcher surrounded by police clutching rifles. He appeared with fellow defendants in a courtroom cage, looking pale and glum and wearing sunglasses.
Outside the court at the Cairo police academy, his supporters gathered, carrying pictures of the former airforce commander and chanting slogans demanding his release.
Families of those killed by security forces during the uprising came to protest.
"This delay comes in preparation for the clearing of Mubarak," said one woman whose son died during the street revolt.
The political demise of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood at the hands of the military means voices more sympathetic to Mubarak are now being heard.
Mubarak told the court last month that he had not ordered the killing of protesters and said history would vindicate him.
Adly and other Mubarak-era officials have also had their testimonies broadcast in recent weeks, giving them a platform to rebuild their reputations with the public.
Mubarak is unlikely to be freed, however. Though he has been given bail in this case, he is already serving a separate three-year sentence for embezzlement at a military hospital in the upscale Maadi district of Cairo. The court ordered that Adly remain in custody pending the verdict.