Former minister of interior Habib El-Adly behind bars in a televised session of Mubarak's trial (Photo:Reuters)
During Saturday's session of the ongoing trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, lawyer Mohamed El-Gendy, defence lawyer of former interior minister Habib El-Adly, told the court that he demands the summoning of prominent opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei as a witness in the case, on account of the testimony of former Giza security director Osama El-Marassy.
According to El-Gendy, El-Marassy testified that on 28 January, before protests broke out, the latter went to Istiqama Mosque for Friday prayers where he found ElBaradei praying also, before protests that were planned to proceed after Friday prayers. El-Marassy also said that shortly after protesters gathered in front of the mosque to march towards Tahrir, riots broke out and some protesters started setting fire to shops in Giza Square, whereupon ElBaradei went back into the mosque and was escorted back to his residence with the help of security forces.
Furthermore, El-Gendy told the court that an order to deal with protests is not equivalent to an order to shoot at them, justifying his argument by saying that the first prime minister appointed after the ouster of Mubarak, Essam Sharaf, ordered his interior minister, Mansour El-Essawy, to "deal" with protesters in the city of Qena during the time they were both in office, which is the kind of order El-Gendy argues was similarly given by El-Adly to his aides, and that such an order is not an order to shoot.
El-Gendy also said that the communications blackout imposed by authorities for almost a week since the eve of 28 January was for the purpose of preventing Mobinil telecommunications company, led by prominent businessman Naguib Sawiris, from wiretapping international calls and passing them on to the Israeli secret service, Mossad.
El-Adly's defence lawyer said that if Mubarak and El-Adly received the death sentence it would be a "deviation from the path of the 25 January Revolution that is aimed to achieve justice," on the grounds that Mubarak and El-Adly did not give orders to shoot at peaceful protesters on 28 January as the defence tries to prove.
During his defence presentation, El-Adly's lawyer brought former US President George W Bush in a comparison to Mubarak, as he said that even though Bush is responsible for the killings of thousands of American troops in the war he waged on Iraq, the US government did not put him on trial, while Mubarak who stated during investigation that he did not give orders to shoot protesters is being tried.
Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, along with El-Adly face charges of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters during the 25 January uprising that toppled the Mubarak in early February.
According to official estimates, at least 846 protesters died during the 25 January uprising, most of which on 28 January. Saturday marks exactly one year since the mass protests broke out in the country's major cities demanding the fall of Mubarak and his 30-year rule.