Mubarak laying down in court 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Hosni Mubarak was "a just man, not a tyrant" and his accusers have no evidence to support their charge that he ordered the killing of protesters during the uprising against him, the lawyer defending the former Egyptian president said on Tuesday.
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Defense lawyer Farid el-Deeb said the prosecution had initially decided against bringing the charge against Mubarak for lack of evidence and only did so later in response to public pressure.
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"There is no way that Hosni Mubarak, who is accused of murder and abusing his power, is the same Hosni Mubarak I am about to describe," said Deeb, repeatedly raising his voice and shaking his fist in an impassioned speech to the court.
"He is a man with clean hands and a pure heart."
As in previous sessions, the 83-year old Mubarak was wheeled into the courtroom on a hospital trolley. The man who governed Egypt for three decades listened to the defense from a cage reserved for the defendants, alongside him are his two sons who are standing trial on charges of corruption.
Addressing the charge that Mubarak had ordered the killing of
protesters, Deeb said there was no legal case against the former
president. "He'll be acquitted," whispered members of the audience who
appeared convinced by the argument.
Broadcast live in its early stages, the trial mesmerized millions of
Arabs. Mubarak is the first Arab leader toppled in a wave of protests to
appear in court in person.
A verdict of innocence would likely trigger outrage among many Egyptians
and could lead to more protests, though Mubarak could still be found
guilty of the other charges he faces, including corruption. Deeb told
the court he would spend the coming days addressing those charges.
More than 850 people were killed in the 18 days of protests that
unseated Mubarak last February, since when the military has ruled the
Presenting their case earlier this month, lawyers for the prosecution
said their evidence gathering had been impeded by a lack of cooperation
from the Interior Ministry - a charge it denied.
Deeb cited witness testimony from Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's deputy in the
last days of his rule, that there had been no orders to shoot.
Testimony from Suleiman and other senior officials was given in closed
Orders were "to deal with the protests in the usual manner" by
containing them with riot police and the use of batons, Deeb cited
Suleiman as saying in previously unreleased statements.Prosecution: Mubarak failed to protect the people
The head of the prosecution had argued that even if Mubarak did not
directly order the killing of the protesters, he had failed in his
constitutional duty to protect the people.
The judge has given the prosecution and defense until Feb. 16 to make their case.
Deeb said Mubarak had served his country for 60 years, repeatedly citing
the Koran, Islam's holy book, during the three-hour presentation to the
He presented Mubarak's record of military service as an air force
officer and attributed any failings during his presidency to the burden
imposed by Egypt's rapid population growth, saying it had doubled to 82
million in the years he was head of state.
It was under Mubarak's rule, he added, that Egypt recovered the entire
Sinai Peninsula from Israel, territory returned under the 1979 peace
treaty agreed by former President Anwar Sadat.
"All this man asks from you is justice and being fair to him. We cannot cover his history with dust," Deeb said.