Monday, 3 October 2011

Egypt's new leader Field Marshal Tantawi says Mubarak didn't order shootings

Egypt's new leader Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has publically stated, during a ceremony south of Cairo, that former president Hosni Mubarak never gave orders to shoot at protesters demanding his resignation.

Tantawi made the remarks a week after he testified in secret in Mubarak's trial. The former president is being charged with ordering the killing of anti-government demonstrators during the 18 day uprising, which resulted in his ousting.

It is destimated that at least 850 protesters were killed by security forces. Speaking about the issue, Tantawi said: "The armed forces fight for Egypt and not for just anyone, whoever it may be…I testified before God and I told the truth…Nobody asked us to open fire and nobody will open fire."

The court imposed a ban on the country's media thus allowing Tantawi's testimony, which took place on 24th September, to proceed in secret. His account is thought to have been vital in the trial of Mubarak, who denies the charges and could face the death penalty if convicted.

During the session, lawyers representing some of those killed said Tantawi gave evidence earlier than usual and left the courthouse without allowing cross-examination.

Mubarak's security chief Habib al-Adli and six top police officers are also on trial with the former leader. About 100 other officers charged with using deadly force are on trial separately.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, AFP

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

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