As defence lawyers presented their case for the second consecutive day on Wednesday in the ongoing trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, lawyer Farid El-Deeb attempted to refute charges that his client had ordered the killing of unarmed protesters during last year’s 18-day uprising by claiming that the protests had been violent in nature due to "possible" infiltration by foreign elements.
Prosecution lawyer Mohamed Mahmoud told Ahram Online that El-Deeb had stated that Egyptian police forces had withdrawn from the streets of the capital at 4pm on 28 January, going on to assert that all killings and injuries that took place that day had occurred subsequently.
According to Mahmoud, El-Deeb cited earlier testimony delivered by Field-Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council, in which the latter claimed that Mubarak had not asked him to fire on protesters after the armed forces were mobilised following the police withdrawal.
Earlier on Wednesday, media reports emerged that El-Deeb had held the army responsible for the killing of protesters, including a story by Ahram Online ("Mubarak lawyer blames army for protester deaths") that was quickly retracted. Mahmoud, for his part, told Ahram Online that El-Deeb’s statements had been "misinterpreted," and that El-Deeb had not intended to implicate military personnel in the crime.
Mahmoud says El-Deeb told the court that police ammunition was stolen after police forces had withdrawn from the streets in an attempt to bolster his argument that protests had become violent. El-Deeb went on to raise the "possibility” of involvement by Lebanese resistance faction Hezbollah, Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, and Iran, which, he suggested, had infiltrated the protests with the intention of escalating the violence.
Mubarak, his two sons, former interior minister Habib El-Adly, and six of the latter’s aides all face charges of ordering the killing of unarmed protesters during the Tahrir Square uprising almost one year ago that ultimately forced Mubarak to relinquish power on 11 February.
During the January uprising 846 protesters were killed and around 11,000 were injured.