Cairo: Mubarak back in court over protester deaths

Session is fourth since trial started last month; many Egyptians, lawyers frustrated by police testimonies; hearing closed to cameras.

By REUTERS
September 7, 2011 12:49
1 minute read.
Hosni Mubarak in trial cage on stretcher

Mubarak on stretcher 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Egypt TV via Reuters TV)

 
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CAIRO - An Egyptian court trying Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters who ousted him convened on Wednesday to hear more testimonies after police witnesses suggested this week that neither he nor his interior minister gave orders to shoot.

Mubarak, who has been in hospital since April and attended all three court sessions on a stretcher, arrived by helicopter, state TV said. Cameras have been barred in court.

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Egyptians who helped oust the 83-year-old Mubarak after 30 years in power have regularly gathered at the court on the outskirts of Cairo demanding swift justice for about 850 people killed in the uprising.

Opponents of Mubarak and lawyers of the families of victims have voiced frustration with the witnesses at Monday's session, attended by Mubarak lying on a hospital trolley in the defendant's cage.

"My friend dropped dead in Tahrir Square right next to me. He was shot in the head by the police," said Rabia al-Sheikh outside the court. "Why don't they let us inside to testify. Why are they calling on police to testify and not the people?"

The 83-year-old Mubarak, the first Arab head of state to be tried in person since unrest erupted across the Middle East this year, is charged with conspiring to kill protesters and "inciting" some officers to use live ammunition.

Lawyers said the court could hear three more witnesses on Wednesday, depending on the time each took.



About 20 protesters shouted abuse at Mubarak and police, some chanting "Hosni Mubarak is a thief". They say police used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to try to quash the uprising.

There was a heavy police presence outside the court to prevent scuffles with Mubarak's supporters.

Lawyers representing families of victims said the police witnesses on Monday give different answers before the trial.

"They have changed the testimonies they previously gave to the prosecution which makes them unreliable," Amir Salem said.

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