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Mubarak trial suspended on bias claims

Sept. 26, 2011 at 10:56 AM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The trial of ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was suspended until Oct. 30 after lawyers for families of anti-Mubarak protesters killed sought a new trial.

Al-Masry al-Youm reported lawyers representing the families at Mubarak's criminal trial claimed judicial bias and requested Judge Ahmed Refaat be replaced following closed testimony Saturday by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's defense minister for two decades.

"We (plaintiffs' lawyers) have reached the conclusion that Judge Ahmed Refaat is overseeing the case in an arbitrary manner. He is putting obstacles before us," said Abdel Aziz Amer, a lawyer representing the families.

Amer said Tantawi's bodyguards beat one of the plaintiffs' lawyers and "the judge didn't say anything about this unprecedented attack against lawyers."

Under tight security, most plaintiffs' lawyers were prevented from entering the Cairo Appeals Court and were not allowed to ask questions, Amer said.

Tantawi answered 10 questions from Refaat but the two questions submitted by prosecutors were rejected on grounds they had already been asked, Amer said.

"This is a justifiable reason to ask Cairo Appeals Court to change the judge. ... We are seeking justice," Amer said.

The Cairo Appeals Court is to begin deliberating the lawyers' request Tuesday.

Refaat adjourned Mubarak's trial until Oct. 30. If a new judge is appointed, the trial would start over again.

More than 800 protesters were killed during the revolution that toppled Mubarak's regime.

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