CAIRO: Judge Ahmed Refaat adjourned Wednesday the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak to Jan. 2 in a procedural session after a three-month halt.
Mubarak’s defense team requested access to the investigations into the latest clashes of Mohamed Mahmoud, the Cabinet and Maspero which took place over the past three months, in addition to information regarding weapons used in the clashes.
Moreover, the defense team also requested information about the amount of weapons used in terrorist acts in Egypt since 1997 until 2010, as well as the number of military uniforms, weapons and police vehicles that were stolen in recent clashes.
Head of the volunteer defense team Yousry Abdel Razek had told Daily News Egypt that the recent clashes between protesters and security and armed forces, prove that other authorities gave orders to shoot protesters during the January uprising and not the ousted president himself.
On Wednesday, Mubarak was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher dressed in black and covering his face from the cameras.
Abdel Aziz said that neither the plaintiff’s nor the defense lawyers’ renewed their request that the army’s Chief of Staff Sami Anan give his testimony.
The plaintiff’s lawyers also requested access to footage from surveillance cameras outside the Egyptian Museum, and state television, which are under the authority of Egyptian intelligence.
According to Abdel Aziz, former interior minister Habib El-Adly’s lawyer Mohamed El-Gendi claimed that he has documents from both the American and Israeli intelligence that prove that the Egyptian uprising was plotted ahead to divide Egypt into three states.
The court asked the lawyer to submit the documents.
“The court treats the lawyers of both parties on an equal footing. It’s a fair trial where all the basic laws are ensured,” Abdel Aziz said.
Mubarak, along with Habib El-Adly and his aides, is accused of ordering the killing of protesters during the January uprising.
However, so far the testimonies suggest that Mubarak is not guilty.
In his testimony, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said that Mubarak did not give orders to shoot protesters.
Many have criticized the slow pace of the trial, given that Judge Ahmed Refaat is scheduled to retire in June.
However, in a televised interview Chancellor Taha Sharif, former president of the Court of Justice said that the court is not responsible for the delay, attributing it instead to the long procedures.
He added that the judge has the right to make close all the sessions since the information circulated is has national security implications and cannot be aired publicly.
The trial was on hold for three months after the plaintiff’s lawyers filed a complaint to replace Judge Refaat, claiming he was biased against the civil rights defense team. The appeal was rejected earlier this month.
“The next session will be a continuation of today’s procedural session. The court will inform us which requests were accepted. But we expect the verdict to be announced after a series of rapid sessions,” said Mohamed Abdel Aziz, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers.
“I believe that the public lost interest in this case. Their interest will fade until the verdict is announced or new evidence surfaces that will add a twist to the case,” said Hassan Nafie, political science professor at Cairo University.
“I expect a verdict to be issued before SCAF hands over power and before the presidential elections take place,” Nafie said.
During earlier sessions, the trial was frequently interrupted by arguments in the courtroom between the lawyers.
“There are violations by both defense and plaintiffs’ lawyers. While defense lawyers try to prolong the trial, some of the plaintiffs’ lawyers waste time, which is why an independent committee comprised of five members and headed by the head of Lawyers’ Syndicate Sameh Ashour will monitor the professional performance of both the defense and victims’ lawyers. Anyone who commits violations will be subjected to punishment,” Abdel Aziz said.
It has been rumored that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was pressure by some Gulf countries which opposed the trial of Mubarak.
“They have all given up on this idea now, what I believe they could be discussing is easing the verdict,” Nafie added.
Pro and anti-Mubarak protesters gathered outside the courtroom. Some Mubarak supporters held posters of the former president, while families of the martyrs who died in the uprising were carrying posters of their sons.
Mubarak supporters chanted “Not guilty, not guilty,” saying the trial is a sham.
“If the president ordered the killing of protesters there would have been more than 800 people killed. Not all those who died were martyrs, many of them were attacking police stations,” said Karim Hussein, administrator of the online group “I am sorry Mr. President.”
According to state news agency MENA, more than 5,000 policemen were deployed to secure the proceedings held at a police academy in the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday.
A supporter of former President Hosni Mubarak holds his portrait as she joins others gathered outside the Police Academy where his trial is being held on the outskirts of Cairo, on December 28, 2011. The murder trial of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak resumed after a three-month hiatus that saw the ousted strongman’s fate eclipsed by deadly clashes and an Islamist election victory. (AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE)