At Wednesday's final session of the six-month long trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, defendants and their lawyers were given a chance to address the court and respond to closing arguments by the prosecution.
Presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat asked Mubarak if he had anything to add to closing statements made earlier by defence lawyer Farid El-Deeb, to which Mubarak replied, "What Mr. Farid said will suffice."
Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, also defendants in the case, both refrained from making closing statements on Wednesday, even though media reports the night before had suggested the two men planned to deliver statements about their father's "achievements."
El-Deeb submitted a written document to the judge in Mubarak's name that reportedly concluded with a line of Arabic poetry that stated, "My country, even if it was unfair towards me, remains dear. My people, even if they have wronged me, remain dignified."
During Wednesday’s session, the lead prosecutor read aloud a recommendation by Egypt’s newly-elected Parliament to have Mubarak transferred to the Tora Prison hospital rather than the relatively luxurious International Medical Centre, at which he has been staying.
El-Deeb, for his part, rejected Parliament's recommendation, saying the court had decided to maintain Mubarak at the medical centre and stressing that parliament should not interfere with Egypt’s judicial authorities.
According to news reports, former interior minister Habib El-Adly, also a defendant in the case, addressed the court for nearly two hours about his political career and the early days of last year’s revolution, which culminated in Mubarak’s February ouster.
El-Adly, who began his statement by reciting verses from the Quran, denied charges that he had instructed police officers to fire on unarmed protesters during last year’s uprising. He also said that the Egyptian security apparatus had obtained information before 24 January of last year suggesting that there might be a “peaceful protest” against the Mubarak regime the following day.
The former minister also claimed he had been ordered by Mubarak to hold a meeting before the 25 January protests, at which it had been decided to cut domestic telecommunications to prevent protesters from flocking to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which eventually became the revolution’s epicentre. He stressed, however, that he had not been responsible for the decision to cut telecommunications – including both phone lines and internet – at the outset of the 18-day uprising.
El-Adly, who has already been slapped with a 12-year jail term for corruption and money laundering, also vociferously denied having ordered police to kill protesters, instead blaming protesters’ deaths on “infiltrators” from Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
"If protesters were killed by police officers, why weren’t any of the latter caught red-handed?" El-Adly asked the court.
Prosecutors, for their part, intend to bring a lawsuit against El-Adly's lawyer, who they accuse of forgery and misrepresentation of evidence.
Defendant Ahmed Ramzy, former head of the interior ministry’s Central Security Forces, also addressed the court in Wednesday’s session, insisting that he had never in his life used live ammunition against unarmed Egyptian political demonstrators.
The former police general also claimed that El-Adly had wanted to clear Tahrir Square of protesters on the evening of 25 January, but that he had refused to carry out orders to this effect.
Notably, Cairo's criminal court announced Wednesday evening that a final verdict would be delivered on 2 June, adding that the decision would be televised on Egyptian television.