(photo credit: REUTERS)
The head of Egypt’s ruling military council will testify in a closed session
next week to a court that is trying ousted president Hosni Mubarak over charges
of conspiring to kill protesters, Judge Ahmed Refaat said on
In addition to Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Armed
Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Enan will also give testimony on September 12
behind closed doors for national security reasons, the judge
Mubarak’s former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who also briefly
served as vice president, and Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy would also
testify next week, the judge said.
Lawyer Mohamed Damati also asked for
testimonies from Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s intelligence chief, who was also
briefly vice president, and the former president’s wife, Suzanne.
Wednesday, prosecutors accused a police officer of giving false testimony in an
often heated court session. Lawyers acting for families of some of the 850
people killed in the uprising that ousted the Egyptian president have complained
that some police witnesses changed their accounts and accused the prosecution of
failing to build a strong case.
Outside the court, protesters also voiced
frustration at the witness accounts. Many Egyptians say police used tear gas,
rubber bullets and live ammunition to try to quash protests.
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?” There was a heavy police presence outside the court on the outskirts of
Cairo, but no repeat of the scuffles and stone-throwing that erupted between
Mubarak’s supporters and opponents there during the previous
Mubarak, who was driven from office after three decades in
power on February 11, is the first Arab leader to stand trial in person since
unrest erupted across the Middle East this year.
Police witnesses in
Monday’s session had suggested neither the former president nor his former
interior minister, Habib al-Adli, who is also on trial, gave any orders to
shoot, and one officer on Wednesday told the court that the police was
instructed not to take its guns to protests.
Prosecutors said police
officer Muhammad Abdel Hakim had initially told the prosecution during their
probe that he was given 300 shotgun cartridges, but in court he denied
“The guns were not allowed to be with the unit. The instructions
were for officers not even to take their personal guns,” said Abdel
Refaat said Hakim would be held in a separate room pending a
decision on his testimony.
When he was removed, one lawyer shouted after
him: “You liar, you liar. You have been paid. This is the blood of your
The judge looked to the defendants’ cage where Mubarak is being
held and asked defendants if they had comments. Mubarak responded: “No, I have
The judge suspended proceedings at one point to restore calm
and also defended the work of the prosecution against criticism from lawyers
acting for victims’ families.
“They are men of law and justice. They must
They have done great work in investigating this case,” he
A top police officer told the court on Monday he was not aware of
any order to fire on protesters, although he said police were given live
ammunition to protect the Interior Ministry. Gen. Hussein Saeed Mohamed Moussa,
in charge of communications for state security, said he believed the decision to
issue arms was taken by a senior police officer, Ahmed Ramzi.
one of six officers standing trial with the former interior minister, the
ex-president and Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal.
Alaa shook his head
inside the cage at one point when a lawyer acting for victims’ families
tearfully addressed the court saying: “Mubarak was the worst president Egypt has