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Bed-ridden Mubarak appears in court with sons

posted 15 Aug 2011, 05:44 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Aug 2011, 05:47 ]

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes his second court appearance in Cairo with his sons.

CAIRO, EGYPT (AUGUST 15, 2011) EGYPT TV - Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak arrived in a hospital bed in a Cairo court on Monday (August 15) to face charges over the killing of protesters, the first 

Arab leader to stand trial in person since popular uprisings began sweeping the Middle East.

Mubarak appeared for the second time in court, along with his sons Alaa and Gamal, wearing a navy blue sports sweater, being wheeled into the courtroom's steel cage on a gurney.

Mubarak looked composed and stern, hands clasped over his chest, as he exchanged a few words with Alaa who then kissed him on the forehead.

Alaa and his brother Gamal hovered over their father, holding Korans in their hands.

Former air-force commander Mubarak, was seen propped up on the bed drifting in and out of sleep, as he was accused of ordering the use of live ammunition to quell protests, of corruption and abuse of power.

Mubarak denied all the charges against him in the opening session, his first appearance after being rushed to a hospital in April where he was rumoured to have suffered from a "heart crisis" during questioning. Alaa and Gamal also denied all charges.

Presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat called Mubarak's name followed by Alaa and Gamal who all answered, "Present."

Scores of lawyers clamoured for the judge's attention in chaotic scenes, though Refaat appealed for calm, ordering them to sit down to allow proceedings to begin.

Prosecution lawyers have expressed concern that any judgement must be seen to have taken place fairly on all sides.

"All we want is a fair, concise and objective trial in which all means of defence are attained, where neither party will infringe on another and where no right is lost in the presence of a capable court such as yourselves," he said.

Defence lawyers say that any testimony by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on Mubarak's role in trying to suppress the 18-day uprising could decide the ex-president's fate.

Tantawi, who was defence minister for two decades under Mubarak, now heads the military council that took power when he was ousted and has promised a transition to democracy - a process far from complete.

More than 850 people were killed during the uprising and at least 6,000 wounded when security forces fired live rounds and rubber bullets and used water cannon and batons against the protesters.

Mubarak's lawyer, Fareed El-Deeb, notorious for taking up controversial cases, asked the judge for data concerning those inured and killed during the uprising.

In the first court session, defence lawyers asked for Tantawi, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and about 1,600 others to testify as witnesses.

The military said officers called by the judge to give testimony would attend.

But a judicial source said that even if Tantawi were asked to testify, it would happen later in the trial to shield the army from taking the heat in the controversial case.