Witnesses to take stand in Mubarak trial

Arab World Materials 5 September 2011 10:58
Members of the Egyptian security forces are scheduled to testify on Monday in closed Cairo court session
Witnesses to take stand in Mubarak trial

A top police official and three other officers are expected to testify on Monday in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ousted president,Al Jazeera reported.

They will be the first witnesses to take the stand in a case that has gripped Egypt and the Arab world.

Egyptians were stunned by television images of their 83-year-old former president of 30 years being wheeled into a cage in court, lying on a hospital bed in the first two sessions.

By order of the judge, no more sessions of the trial will be televised, a rule imposed by Judge Ahmed Refaat partly to protect the testimony of witnesses.

Lawyers, who applauded the decision, said the ban would prevent witnesses being influenced by each other or by the public.

Mubarak is the first Arab leader to stand trial in person since popular uprisings swept the Middle East this year.

"We are expecting to hear the testimony of four witnesses that the prosecution has asked for to prove the charges against Mubarak and the others," said Gamal Eid, a lawyer representing 16 of the roughly 850 people killed in the uprising.

Kuwaiti gesture

Mubarak is charged with involvement in the killing of the protesters.

Eid said one of the witnesses is General Hussein Saeed Mohamed Mursi, a top police officer who worked in the operations room of the police force during the uprising.

"[Mursi] had been accused in a decision issued by the general prosecutor of deleting those recordings but he later turned into a witness," Eid said.

The three other witnesses named by the court - Emad Badr Saeed, Bassim Mohamed el-Otaify and Mahmoud Galal Abdel Hamid - are also police officers who were in the operations room during the 18 days of protests.

Mubarak is standing trial with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, once viewed as being groomed for top office, as well as former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and six senior police officers.

Ten Kuwaiti lawyers are expected to join the defence team for Mubarak on Monday.

Some of the lawyers said their role comes as a gesture of gratitude to Mubarak for his support for a US-led coalition that expelled Iraq from Kuwait in 1991.

A press conference held by the Kuwaiti lawyers on Sunday descended into chaos when pro-Mubarak supporters attacked a journalist, scratching his arms and beating him after he asked why the Kuwaitis were defending the ousted president.

During the two earlier court sessions, the first held on August 3, supporters and opponents of Mubarak gathered outside the police academy building in a Cairo suburb where the trial is being held. Some fought and threw stones at each other.

Mubarak was flown to the court by helicopter for the two previous sessions, and is now staying at a hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.