Head of Egypt’s military council arrives in court to testify in Mubarak trial

Ahram Online, Saturday 24 Sep 2011

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi arrives at Mubarak trial to testify

Hussein Tantawi
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, defence minister and head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), arrived Saturday morning at Cairo’s Police Academy where ousted president Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, the former minister of the interior Habib El-Adly and a number of senior police officers on charges of willfully killing peaceful protesters on 28 and 29 January. Tantawi had been subpoenaed by the court to testify as to Mubarak's culpability in ordering the police to use live fire against the protesters.  

Mubarak is accused of conspiring with former interior minister El-Adly to intentionally kill thousands of peaceful protestors during the 25 January uprising in several Egyptian governorates for the purpose of protecting his regime.

Field Marshal Tantawi was supposed to testify before the Cairo Criminal Court on 11 September but he didn’t attend due to security concerns.

The court has ordered that the sessions in which Tantawi and other top figures testify should be held in camera. No media is allowed to attend Saturday’s court session while Tantawi delivers his testimony.

Tantawi, who was defence minister under Mubarak, has been on public record as stating that the army, under his command, had refused to follow orders to shoot at the protesters. He did not specify who gave the orders, but there is little doubt that such orders could have come only from Mubarak, who as president and supreme commander of the armed forces was the sole authority in the country with the power to give them.

Tantawi is to testify as well as to his knowledge of culpability in the cutting off of all electronic communications in the country (mobile and internet networks) for nearly a week following the breakout of the revolution. Mubarak's chief defence lawyer had hinted several weeks ago that it was Tantawi himself who gave the order, which SCAF vehemently denied.


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