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Mubarak back in court as trial resumes

Dec. 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Hosni Mubarak returned to a Cairo court to resume his trial on charges of conspiring in the killing of civilian protesters during the uprising that ousted him.

The former president of Egypt was wheeled into the courtroom Wednesday on a hospital gurney for the fifth session of the trial and the first since a three-month break, The New York Times reported.

The ousted president has been detained at an army hospital outside of Cairo since August.

He is also facing charges he used his position as president to enrich himself, his sons and a friend.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Mubarak said recent clashes in Egypt prove the ousted leader did not order security forces to shoot at protesters in the uprising that ousted the former Egyptian ruler, a lawyer said.

The weapons used to kill more than 80 protesters in the latest clashes were the same as those that killed more than 840 unarmed protesters in the 18-day revolt that began Jan. 25 and ousted Mubarak Feb. 11, Yousry Abdel Razek, head of Mubarak's volunteer defense team, told Daily News Egypt.

A civil defense lawyer countered, "Linking killing protesters in January's uprising with what happened the past three months is illogical and illegal.

"Each case has its own circumstances and the ousted president should be held accountable for security forces' actions under his reign," Mohamed Abdel Wahab told the newspaper.

Mubarak's trial has resumed following a three-month postponement after lawyers representing the families of shooting victims filed a motion accusing presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat of favoring Mubarak and having an anti-protester bias.

Cairo's Court of Appeal rejected the motion Tuesday and fined the lawyers who filed it $996.

The lawyers had alleged Refaat was biased because his brother Essam Refaat was an active member of Mubarak's now-defunct National Democratic Party -- and had served on a policy-making party committee led by Mubarak son Gamal Mubarak, who is among the former government officials charged in the trial.

Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also standing trial on corruption charges. Ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly is charged in the protester killings -- he previously received a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

Mubarak confidant and business tycoon Hussein Salem, who fled the country, is being tried in absentia.

When testimony began in early September, the first five witnesses, all police officials, recanted what prosecutors said were initial statements about instructions from senior police officials to use live ammunition or other force against demonstrators.

Prosecutors then called the country's military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and other members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In an hour of closed-door testimony, Tantawi insisted Mubarak never asked the army to shoot at protesters, disputing his earlier statement the army would not shoot at protesters because it refused Mubarak's orders to do so.

Unlike previous trial sessions, Wednesday's was not being televised, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency reported.

More than 5,000 security personnel were stationed inside and outside the courtroom in coordination with military forces and Egypt's interior ministry, MENA said.

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