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Egypt speaker behind ‘battle of the camel’: probe | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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CAIRO, (AFP) — Egypt’s upper house speaker under ousted president Hosni Mubarak was the mastermind behind organised attacks by loyalists riding camels on anti-regime protesters, investigators said on Thursday.

A fact-finding committee looking into the uprising’s most bizarre scene when Mubarak loyalists charged protesters on horses and camels, said Safwat al-Sherif had orchestrated the plan, the official MENA news agency reported.

Sherif, who was also secretary general of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, is said to have “contacted MPs, members of the NDP and financiers of the party, inciting them to disperse the protests in (Cairo’s) Tahrir Square by force and violence,” MENA said.

He urged them to “kill the protesters if they had to,” MENA said.

Last week, Egypt’s public prosecutor referred 25 people to trial for murder during the anti-regime uprising for their involvement in the notorious “battle of the camel.”

Sherif, and lower house speaker Fathi Surur were among those referred to court for “inciting murder and killing protesters,” a judicial official told AFP.

Mubarak was ousted in February after nearly three weeks of mass anti-regime protests that left 846 people dead and more than 6,000 injured.

The country’s new military rulers have vowed to bring to justice all those found guilty of abuse.

The “battle of the camel,” which took place on one of the most violent days of the revolt, was seen as pivotal in drawing more crowds to join the anti-regime rallies.

On February 2, protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a sixth day of demonstrations when Mubarak supporters charged through the crowds on horses and camels, causing mayhem that quickly degenerated into violent clashes.

Mubarak is currently in custody in hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. He is due to stand trial, along with his two sons Alaa and Gamal, on charges of ordering the killing of protesters.

Mubarak has denied all charges of murder and corruption, according to a transcript of his investigation published by the independent newspaper Al-Dustur on Thursday.