Supporters of Battle of Camel defendant attempt breaking into courtroom

Ahram Online, Monday 9 Apr 2012

Supporters of Mortada Mansour accused of plotted the Battle of the Camel during the revolution attempt to break into the courtroom

Battle of Camel, 2 February, 2011 (Photo: Ahram Archives)

Supporters of Mortada Mansour, one of the defendants in the lawsuit of Tahrir's Battle of the Camel attempted to break into the courtroom Monday afternoon while the hearing was still taking place.

The Battle of the Camel took place at the height of the January 25 Revolution on 2 February. Pro-Mubarak thugs stormed Tahrir Square on camels and horses, killing 11 protesters and injuring several hundred.

Mansour's lawyers reportedly had to form a human chain around the courtroom's door to prevent supporters from forcing their way into Monday's session.

Also during the session, one of Mansour's lawyers sparked a row when he demanded the recusal of the judge, as the lawyer claimed there is "enmity" between Mansour and the judge. The lawyers’ demand was met with refusal from the lawyers of the rest of the defendants, as well as the defendants themselves.

Mansour, himself a lawyer and former head of the Zamalek Sporting Club submitted his papers to take part in the presidential race on Sunday as a representative of the Egypt National Party, viewed largely as an offshoot of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP).

During Sunday's hearing, court judge Ahmed Hassan Abdallah had to suspend the hearing after an altercation took place between the defence and families of the victims after the families asked Abdallah for justice or for him to step down.

Several other Mubarak-era figures are caught up in the Battle of the Camel lawsuit, including former speaker of the People's Assembly Ahmed Fathi Sorour, former speaker of the Upper House Secretary-General of the NDP Safwat El-Sherif, former minister of manpower Aisha Abdel-Hadi, and MP and former head of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions Hussein Megawer, who all entered a plea of not guilty at Monday's hearing.

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