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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Historic Mubarak trial resumes amidst fierce clashes outside and inside courtroom

Third session of the trial of Egypt's former dictator begins, untelevised, as his supporters throw stones at families of martyrs outside of courtroom

Mai Shaheen , Monday 5 Sep 2011
(Photo by Mai Shaheen)

The third session of the trial of Egypt's ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak has begun minutes ago.

This is the first session of the historic trial that would not be televised as presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat had decided at the end of last round to ban TV broadcasting.

Clashes errupted inside courtroom between the defendants' and victims' lawyers, resulting in six injuries.

A confirmation about the clashes came from a lawyer representing the families of the victims, Gamal Eid of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Eid, who is Tweeting from inside the courtroom, added that the clashes disrupted the session, forcing the presiding judge, Ahmed Refaat , to recess the session after lawyers yelled at him.

Newsreporters confirmed that all defendants - Mubarak, his two sons, his former minister of interior and six of his top aides - have all appeared in Court.

Mubrak was wheeled in on a stretcher as he did in the previous two sessions. However, his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, entered the courtroom in handcuffs for the very first time during the trial.

Earlier this morning, scuffles have broken out between protesters and police officers outside courtroom, as the 3-judge panel prepares to hear from police witnesses who were in the headquarters control room during the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators during the January uprising against the former dictator.

Our Ahram Online reporter on the scene says that clashes began when some families of the martyrs were infuriated that police prevented them from entering the court room while allowing relatives of accused police officers to do so.

Police pushed back martyrs families and their supporters and things quieted down for a few moments.

However, our Ahram Online reporter adds, tens of Mubarak's supporters began throwing stones at families of martyrs and journalists.

At this point, all hell broke loose.

Families of the martyrs and their allies, who number around 100, picked up stones and started to throw back at Mubarak supporters.

Security forces and Mubarak supporters responded and scuffles escalated.

In the melee that ensued, at least 3 protesters and one police officer were injured.

Eye witnesses say more police were deployed this time compared to the last two sessions of the trial.

The third session of the trial of Mubarak, his two sons and his former minister of interior will feature for the first time testimonies of witnesses on charges that Mubarak used snipers to kill protesters during the January uprising against his 30 year rule.

Mubarak is standing trial with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, as well as Habib al-Adli, a former interior minister, and six senior police officers on charges of corruption and killing peaceful protesters .

Lawyers have been looking forward to this session that will include the testimony of four significant witnesses. Among these is a very important general, Hussein Moussa, who is the former head of operations in the Central Security Forces who were on the frontline during the crackdown.

According to lawyer Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information,, Moussa is especially important as he was “formally accused of erasing all information and recorded phone calls from the official records”.

Ten Kuwaiti lawyers were expected to join the defence team for Mubarak on Monday, but no one has shown up in court yet.

Some of the lawyers said their role comes as a gesture of gratitude to Mubarak for his support for a US-led coalition that expelled Iraq from Kuwait in 1991.

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