Former interior minister and key Mubarak regime figure Habib El-Adly stands behind bars in trial with the ousted president in earlier, televised courtroom session in August (photo:Reuters)
The ongoing trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, former minister of interior Habib El-Adly, and several of the latter’s assistants was postponed on Wednesday to 2 January.
Trial proceedings had recommenced Wednesday morning following a three-month hiatus with all defendants in attendance. The men face charges of ordering the killing of unarmed protesters during Egypt’s January uprising, along with a host of corruption allegations.
At Wednesday's session, lawyers for the families of slain protesters insisted on summoning Army Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan – who is also deputy head of Egypt’s ruling military council – as a key witness.
Anan had originally been scheduled to deliver testimony in late September, but his deposition was delayed after lawyers for the prosecution filed a motion against presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat, who, they claimed, was biased in the defendants’ favour. Cairo’s Court of Appeals, however, rejected the motion earlier this month, meaning that Refaat will stay on as chief judge in the case.
Disagreements, meanwhile, have emerged over the decision to try Mubarak and El-Adly in a single trial, with critics saying the two should be tried separately. The two men had originally been set to face separate trials until Refaat combined the two cases in August, based on a request by one of the lawyers for the prosecution.
At Wednesday’s session, chief lawyer for the prosecution Sameh Ashour requested that the court question the director of the Egyptian Museum. Surveillance cameras from the museum, which is located adjacent to Tahrir Square, reportedly captured video footage of police forces shooting unarmed protesters during the January uprising. Lawyers for the prosecution, for their part, say the footage was sabotaged at the trial’s outset.
Prosecution lawyers also raised objections to the presence of five Kuwaiti attorneys who have volunteered to defend the ousted president in court. Lawyers called for the foreign attorneys’ removal, on grounds that there were enough qualified Egyptian lawyers on the defence team. They stressed that all parties in the case were Egyptian nationals and should therefore be represented by Egyptian lawyers.
Lawyers for El-Adly, meanwhile, asked to see police reports on recent violent confrontations between demonstrators and security forces, including the 9 October clashes in Cairo’s Mapero district, the November clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, and clashes earlier this month outside Egypt’s Cabinet building.
El-Adly's defence team also asked that Egyptian intelligence chief Mourad Mouafi, along with other top security officials, be summoned for questioning. Defence lawyers believe these security officials may have information regarding "foreign elements" that had allegedly instigated violence during the January uprising.
Meanwhile, the families of slain protesters gathered outside Police Academy headquarters in Cairo, with some carrying signs demanding Mubarak's execution. A group of Mubarak supporters also appeared outside the premises in a show of support for the ousted president.
During the January uprising 846 were killed and some around 11,000 injured.