Kasr El-Nile Bridge, packed with protesters, as it was being attacked by riot police on 28 January 2011 (Photo:Reuters)
The presiding judge who on Saturday dropped charges against Hosni Mubarak of responsibility for killing protesters, based his judgment on “tainted” testimonies from police, one of the protesters’ families’ lawyers said in an interview with Al-Ahram Arabic website.
The judge dropped the charges against Mubarak of aiding in the killing of protesters in 2011 on technical grounds, citing as explanation that the prosecution's earlier decision on 23 March 2011 to charge Mubarak had no legal basis.
Mubarak was also acquitted on Saturday of charges of selling natural gas to Israel at below-market prices in cooperation with business tycoon Hussein Salem.
Mubarak’s interior minister Habib El-Adly was acquitted of the charges of killing protesters.
Mubarak and the other defendants had been convicted of the charges at a previous trial in 2012; the verdict was overturned on appeal and a retrial began in 2013.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a lawyer representing the protesters’ families, said the criminal court's Saturday verdict is not final, and that the court of appeal has the final say.
He added that the verdict has to be appealed in the appeal court because the judge based his ruling on the evidence submitted by the interior ministry only, which was inadequate to convict the accused.
Ahmed cited the example of former MOI head of communications Hussein Al-Saeed Moussa who was given two years in prison for destroying evidence in the case: a CD that reportedly containing phone calls between the minister of interior Habib El-Adly and leading commanders in the ministry during the January 2011 protests. That evidence, according to Ahmed, could have provided a clear proof of guilt for their conviction.
Ahmed also said that the verdict came as a shock to the families, but that they are awaiting the appeal.
Egypt's prosecution appealed the verdict shortly after it was issued, and the case will now progress to the court of appeal, if the appeal is accepted.