Thursday, 8 September 2011

Egypt's Military Ruler Tantawi to testify against Mubarak

Egypt's Military Ruler Field Marshal Mohamad Tantawi has been summoned to testify against former president Hosni Mubarak. He is the previous regime's defence minister, and currently runs the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Another official summoned to give evidence against Mubarak is his former vice-president and intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman.

Mubarak faces charges of ordering the shooting of protesters during the uprising that prompted his resignation in February. The former president, who is reportedly in ill-health, denies the charges.

The proceedings resumed amid minor riots outside the court as the two sides – the pro Mubarak supporters and the revolutionaries – squared up to each other. Some people were chanting in favour of Mubarak while others are calling for the death penalty.

Many people believe that the testimony of senior officials, such as Tantawi, will be crucial in determining whether Mubarak abused his authority and ordered security officials to use lethal forces on protesters.

According to the BBC, one of the witnesses, a senior police official, was arrested for changing his evidence. The officer had originally told lawyers that he was given orders to use live ammunition on demonstrators but later retracted the statement on the stand.

On Monday 5th September, none of the witnesses who testified implicated Mubarak in the deaths of protesters during the revolution. It is estimated that around 850 people were killed during the 18 day uprising in Cairo's Tahrir Square in January and February.

The trial of Mubarak, and his sons Gamal and Alaa, has been merged with that of former interior minister Habib al-Adly, also accused of ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising.

Sources: BBC News, AP, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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