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Lawyer: Security forces weren't ordered to fire on Jan 25 protesters

Defence lawyer cites testimony from ex-security director, intelligence chief that Egyptian security forces weren't told to kill protesters during last year's 18-day uprising

Ahram Online, Thursday 9 Feb 2012
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 Mohamed Hashem, defence lawyer for the former head of Egypt's notorious State Security apparatus, told a Cairo criminal court on Tuesday that the type and variety of injuries sustained by anti-regime protesters during last year's Tahrir Square uprising proved the existence of multiple assailants.

Hashem made the assertion at the ongoing trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, former interior minister Habib El-Adly and five of the latter’s assistants. The defendants are charged with directing security forces to open fire on unarmed demonstrators during the 18-day uprising.

The defence lawyer cited testimony by Ismael El-Shaer, former Cairo security director, who had earlier said he had received orders to "restrain security forces and refrain from responding to provocations by protesters."

According to Hashem, El-Shaer had also asserted that he had not been asked to attack female demonstrators, to which the lawyer attributed the fact that only one woman was killed – protester Sally Zahran, who fell to her death from her apartment balcony – during the course of the uprising. Hashem also quoted El-Shaer as saying that he had forbade security forces to open fire on protesters without his express permission.

The defence lawyer went on to cite statements by former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Soliman, who in earlier testimony had denied that security forces had been ordered to fire on unarmed protesters. Many members of the security forces, Hashem asserted, had "panicked" during the uprising and had not intentionally killed peaceful demonstrators.

Hashem concluded by telling the court that a number of security officers that had testified earlier had said they had been armed only with shields, sticks and tear gas on 25 and 26 January. They had not, Hashem said, been ordered to use any other kind of weapon at the height of the revolution on 28 January, when large numbers of protesters were killed.

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