Prosecutors to take stage Tuesday in Mubarak trial

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 02, 2012 7:49 AM
Prosecutors to take stage Tuesday in Mubarak trial

CAIRO (Reuters) - The trial of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak will resume in earnest Tuesday when judges begin hearing arguments from prosecutors, who say Mubarak and his co-defendants are to blame for the deaths of hundreds of protesters.

Lawyers demanded Monday that the head of Egypt's ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, be summoned back to the court to give fresh testimony. They also asked for Tantawi's deputy General Sami Anan to give evidence.

Mubarak, his two sons, the former interior minister and senior police officers face charges ranging from corruption to involvement in the deaths of around 850 protesters during the uprising that unseated him last February.

Mubarak is the first leader toppled in a wave of Arab uprisings last year to stand trial in person and the case has drawn worldwide attention.

In a country still grappling with political chaos and an economic crisis almost a near since the uprising began, many people believe national renewal will be impossible unless justice is achieved for those killed and their families.

No official has been convicted over the killing of protesters during the 18-day revolt. Mubarak and the other defendants deny any responsibility for the deaths.

The trial was suspended for almost 60 days until last week because some lawyers had demanded the replacement of the panel of judges overseeing the case.

They said they were not given a fair chance to question Tantawi when he stood as a witness in September.

Presiding judge Ahmed Refaat said he would decide on possible new witnesses during the next few sessions.

Mubarak, who is being held under guard at a military hospital near Cairo because doctors say he has a heart condition, was brought into the court on a hospital trolley covering his eyes with sunglasses, which his son Gamal took off once he entered the court.

Lawyers for the dead demanded that Mubarak be transferred to a prison in south Cairo where the other defendants are held because his journey from the military hospital in a helicopter cost the state 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($82,000) each time.

(Reporting By Tamim Elyan; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)