Mubarak in court after top officials called to testify

Testimonies of Field Marshal Tantawi, armed forces chief of staff, and interior minister will be given behind closed doors.

By REUTERS
September 8, 2011 15:11
1 minute read.
Mubarak on trial in Cairo

Mubarak trial closeup. (photo credit: REUTERS/Egypt TV via Reuters TV)

 
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CAIRO - Hosni Mubarak was back in court on Thursday over the killing of protesters, a day after the presiding judge summoned Egypt's military ruler and other top officials to testify next week in the trial of the toppled ex-president.

The testimonies of such high-ranking officials could prove decisive in the case, although Judge Ahmed Refaat said when he announced the decision on Wednesday that the witnesses would be heard behind closed doors for reasons of national security.

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The court heard more witnesses on Thursday. A police officer told the court that security forces had arms in central Cairo during the uprising and suggested they were used against protesters. Defence lawyers said he was in no position to know.

The judge surprised the court on Wednesday by saying Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the military council now ruling Egypt and served as Mubarak's defence minister for two decades, would appear in the witness box on Sunday.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Enan and Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's former intelligence chief and briefly his vice-president, will also testify next week, alongside Interior Minister Essam el-Essawy and his predecessor Mahmoud Wagdy.

"The decision to summon Field Marshal Tantawi and the others is certainly a good thing, but the session has to be public in order to be fair," said Mohamed Adel, an activist with the April 6 movement which helped force out autocrat Mubarak in February.

"We have to see it, and the concept of a publishing ban and secrecy is totally rejected by us," he added.

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