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Monday, 2 January 2012

Prosecution to argue its case in Mubarak trial starting Tuesday

Wasif Chudhary

CAIRO: The prosecution in the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak will start to plead its case on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“The judge surprised by announcing that the prosecution will plead its case for the next three days,” one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, Amir Salem told Daily News Egypt.

“This indicates that the pace of the case is speeding up. After the prosecution, the plaintiffs will plead their case and will be followed by the defense,” he added, noting that these procedures could still last several months.

The slowness of the trial has riled up protesters who have accused the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of foot dragging on convicting their former Chief.

The presiding judge Ahmed Refaat is scheduled to retire in June, raising speculation that the case will be wrapped up before that date.

Mubarak, ex-interior minister Habib El-Adly and six of his aides, are accused of ordering the killing of protesters during the January uprising.

Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El-Deeb told the judge Monday that he is ready to plead his case and has forfeited this right to hear the testimonies of some 1600 witnesses of the he had requested in previous session, according to Mohamed Abdel Aziz, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers.

According to the testimonies presented in court so far, many suggest, Mubarak will not be found guilty. Before the three-month hiatus which ended last Wednesday when the trial resumed, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi had testified in a session closed to the press that Mubarak did not give orders to shoot protesters. His testimony was leaked in full on micro-blogging site Twitter.

On Monday, lawyers representing the civil rights complainants (the victims’ families) renewed their request to summon Chief of Staff Sami Anan to give testimony before the court.

Other requests included the admission of video footage by news channels Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Hurra and ONTV as evidence; summoning doctors who manned the field hospitals during the uprising to give their testimony; and retaining El-Adly’s aides General Osama Marrassi and General Omar El-Faramawy in custody.

Abdel Aziz said that they are ready to begin the final chapter in the trial.

“We have sufficient evidence to convict them, there are police officers who will testify that they were given orders to use live ammunition to disperse protestors,” he said.

A court verdict last Thursday acquitted five police officers of charges over the killing of five protesters in at the Sayeda Zeinab police station during the January uprising, raising concerns that the verdict will pave the way for a possible acquittal or mild sentence in the Mubarak trial.

However, plaintiff’s lawyers disregarded this possibility.

“We are expecting acquittals in all the cases related to police officers around the country,” said Salem, adding that any police officer can produce a document proving that he was either following orders or was on a mission or a different shift that day.

“However the case of Mubarak, El-Adly and his aides is totally different and we cannot link the two,” he said.

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