TANTA: Pictures and videos of the events of April 6 were shown in court Tuesday, during the trial of 48 men and one woman accused of committing offenses during clashes between the police and residents of Mahalla.
Footage shot with a video camera could not be shown after it was discovered that the camera’s digital memory card was blank.
Defense lawyer Ahmed Hegazy presented to the court images of what he said were plain-clothed policemen assaulting and participating in the arrest of civilians in Mahalla on April 6 and 7.
He also screened mobile phone video footage showing central security troops and individuals in civilian clothes, who he said where following the orders of security bodies, throwing stones at demonstrators.
The final photographs shown to the court are of computer screens and printers examined by the prosecutor general in the Taha Hussein School during his visit on April 8, a day after the school and its contents were vandalized and partly destroyed by fire.
The defendants are accused of stealing computer equipment from, and committing acts of criminal damage in, the Taha Hussein and Abdel Hay Khalil schools.
Hegazy alleged that – contrary to prosecution claims – the equipment shown in the photographs, and examined by the prosecutor general, is not the same as the computer equipment brought into court during a previous session and entered into evidence.
The court questioned Al-Masry Al-Youm journalist Mohamed Said, who witnessed the events in Mahalla and took some of the photographs shown to the court.
Said had not been scheduled to give testimony as a witness, prompting concerns by other members of the defense team about the advisability of defense cross-examination of an unprepared witness.
When asked to give a description of the events Said explained that “all of Mahalla’s residents gathered on the town’s streets and began chanting anti-government slogans.
According to Said, troops responded by firing teargas, after which chaos ensued.
He said that the crowds were not dispersed by either water cannon or teargas, and that clashes continued when crowds were driven out of Mahalla’s main square into side streets.
At the end of the session Hegazy made reference to a copy of the public prosecution pleadings which refers to the “fatalities and injuries which resulted from “the acts of the defendants.
Three people were killed in Mahalla during the police clashes on April 6 and 7, including 15 year-old Ali Mabrouk, who was shot in the head while standing on the third-floor balcony of his home.
Nobody has been held to account for his death.
His family alleges that he was shot by the police. Rights groups have heavily criticized security bodies’ use of live ammunition and rubber bullets against demonstrators and the resulting injuries.
Hegazy objected to the attribution of these fatalities and injuries to defendants and demanded that a copy of the forensic reports on these incidents be presented to the court.
The trial was scheduled to resume Wednesday, when members of the defense team will begin pleadings.