Top witness undermines Mubarak case
Monday 05 September 2011
A police commander who agreed to give evidence backing claims that Egypt's former government ordered protesters to be shot went back on his word today.
Prosecutors at the trial of ex-president Hosni Mubarak had expected their first witness General Hussein Moussa to detail how he was told to open fire on crowds in Cairo.
But the general told the hearing police were ordered to use just tear gas and rubber bullets and resorted to live ammunition only to protect police stations.
It was a dramatic and confusing start to the prosecution's case and one of the lawyers representing victims' families accused the general of lying.
"It was clear that the defendants have put pressure on him and that he changed his testimony," Mohammed Damaty said.
Egypt's state television said that General Moussa's evidence contradicted his earlier affidavits to the prosecutor general.
Three other police officials are due to give evidence. But General Moussa's evidence could be damaging to the prosecution's case.
Outside the Police Academy compound where the trial is being held, hundreds of relatives of protesters who were killed in the uprising clashed with police and tried to force their way in, frustrated at being prohibited from attending the trial.
Live TV broadcasts of the landmark trial have been halted by the judge, angering many Egyptians who wanted to witness the prosecution of the man who ruled their country for nearly 30 years and was widely resented for a regime plagued by corruption, police abuse and a ruling-party monopoly on power.
Inside the courtroom, pro- and anti-Mubarak lawyers broke into fist-fights after a loyalist in the audience raised a picture of the ousted president. One lawyer took off his shoes and beat another with them, and other scuffled and shouted insults, prompting the judge to adjourn briefly.
As he has in previous sessions, the 83-year-old Mubarak, who is ill with cancer, lay in a hospital bed in the defendants' cage along with his co-defendants, including his two sons.
Mubarak is charged with corruption and with complicity in the killings of protesters. His sons, Gamal and Alaa, also face corruption charges.
Prosecutors claim that Mubarak and his highest ranking security chief el-Adly were ultimately responsible for orders to use lethal force which saw more than 800 peaceful protesters killed.
General Moussa said live ammunition was used only against protesters who planned to attack the Cairo security headquarters, police stations and prisons. In Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising where witnesses and prosecutors say police snipers shot at protesters, he said security forces used only water cannons and rubber bullets.
Outside the academy compound on the outskirts of Cairo, hundreds of victims' families and protesters pushed and shoved in an attempt to break through the main gates and enter the court building. Black-clad anti-riot police swung batons and briefly clashed with the protesters, who hurled stones at the security forces.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Isis in Syria: 60,000 Kurds flee terror in new exodus
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
4Chan naked photos leak: Celebrity Twitter reactions to the mass breach of privacy
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...
£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Corporate Commercial Soli...
£110 - £155 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: An excellent, last minute opp...