Kasr El-Nile Bridge, packed with protesters, as it was being attacked by riot police on 28 January 2011 (Photo:Reuters)
Egypt's former autocrat Hosni Mubarak passionately defended his 30-year rule on Wednesday, dismissing charges of killing hundreds of protesters who rose up against him in 2011.
The 86-year-old appeared in blue prison garb on a gurney as he listed the achievements of his three-decade reign from inside the defendants' cage, his first speech during the trial.
"Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, who is before you today, would never order the killing of protesters or shed the blood of Egyptians. I've spent my life defending Egypt and its sons," the former strongman told the courtroom in a hearing aired live on TV.
Mubarak, his interior minister and six top security aides are being retried over their complicity in the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled him in 2011. He was found guilty in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison but the conviction was overturned on appeal due to procedural irregularities, and a retrial began in April 2013.
The judge said a final verdict in the case would be delivered on 27 September.
"I have spent my life fighting my nation's enemies and I would not order the murder of a single Egyptian under any circumstances or for any reason," he added as he read his speech from the cage.
"I did not order the spread of chaos – I repeatedly warned of its dangers – nor did I order the creation of a security vacuum," the aging former leader added, saying he had faithfully served his country for 62 years, from when he was an army officer until his final days in power.
Addressing the court with the trademark eloquence he was known for while in office, the former autocrat said he and his family had been subjected to a "smear campaign" since his fall from grace in the 2011 revolt.
He said he was not forced from power in the popular revolt but gave it up "voluntarily" to avert plunging Egypt into an "abyss."
"I am not speaking to review my achievements but to respond to the defamation, slander and accusations," Mubarak added, saying that his speech would likely be his last before his death.
"The wheel of history doesn't go backwards," he said. "No one can fabricate history."
Mubarak said he had "achieved the highest economic growth and foreign currency reserves in Egypt's history" as he denied the corruption allegations he is also facing along with his two sons.
The former long-serving president claimed he bolstered democracy during his later years in office and had warned against mixing religion with politics, alluding to the version of governance by the Muslim Brotherhood, which rose from the shadows to succeed him in power.
A series of acquittals of Mubarak-era associates and police officers accused of killings during the 2011 uprising have raised fears the old regime is regaining leverage.
The Brotherhood was overthrown by the army last year after millions protested against the group's elected president Mohamed Morsi.
Mubarak is now serving a three-year prison term for embezzlement of public funds at a military hospital in the southern outskirts of Cairo.