As Egypt’s democratically elected parliament began its Tuesday session by demanding justice and compensation for protesters slain during Egypt’s January revolution, the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak resumed.
Mubarak, former interior minister Habib El-Adly, and six of the latter’s assistants stand accused of ordering security forces to open fire on unarmed demonstrators during last year’s 18-day Tahrir Square uprising. During the 18 days 846 protesters were killed and around 11,000 injured.
El-Batawy conceded that “some violations” had been committed, but asserted that orders issued to security forces to stop anti-regime protesters from entering the flashpoint square had been for protesters’ own safety.
The lawyer added that both protesters and police forces had committed violent acts, pointing out that, as soon as El-Adly had stepped down, important state institutions were set on fire by activists. “If it weren’t for El-Adly, Egypt would have turned into Syria or Libya,” he said.
El-Batawy attributed the former regime’s decision to cut public telephone and internet access to an earlier meeting at Egypt’s Smart Village (located on the capital’s outskirts) attended by then-vice president Omar Soliman, then-prime minister Ahmed Nazif and then-telecommunications minister Tarek Kamel.
The lawyer also alluded to the involvement of foreign intelligence agencies, which, he alleged, had recruited “certain elements” to kill anti-regime protesters.
El-Batawy went on to accuse former police officer Omar Afifi of encouraging demonstrators to attack police and torch state institutions on the revolution’s first anniversary on Wednesday.