Cairo, (AFP)- Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak was wheeled Tuesday into court where the defence was to begin its case, television showed, as his lawyer said he would need five sessions to defend the ousted strongman.
The prosecution has called for Mubarak to hang for the deaths at the hands of his security forces of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day revolt that forced him out of power last February.
Chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said at a previous hearing the ailing 83-year-old Mubarak must have ordered police to open fire on protesters during violence which left more than 850 people dead.
Mubarak “must have agreed on the killings,” Suleiman told the court on January 5, explaining that co-defendant and former interior minister Habib al-Adly would have given the orders to police commanders to fire on protesters.
Six senior Adly aides are also tried in the case while Mubarak’s two sons Gamal and Alaa are on trial with their father on separate charges of corruption in the same court.
State television showed the ailing Mubarak lying on a stretcher being wheeled into the Police Academy in northern Cairo for Tuesday’s session.
His lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, told the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, that he had “asked that five sessions be allocated to the defence because of the importance of the case.”
Deeb denied local newspapers reports claiming that Gamal Mubarak and his mother Suzanne gave him instructions on how to present his case.
“No one knows what I will say in court. It is true that I met with them but it was only to obtain clarifications concerning some points and to see if they had certain documents.”
Press reports this week claimed that Deeb will reveal “surprises” during his presentations.
Deeb refused to reveal his strategy. “Everything will be said in time in front of the court,” Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted him as saying.”
He said that Kuwaiti lawyers were among several attorneys who had joined the defence team but would not take an active part in arguing the case.
“There are many lawyers, including Kuwaitis, who support Mubarak and we welcome all of them but the defence is ours alone with no interference from them.”
Deeb also told the newspaper that Mubarak must lie on a hospital bed throughout the trial and not sit on a chair.
“His hospital bed is equipped in case he suffers another stroke. If he sits on a chair saving him will be difficult,” Deeb is quoted as saying.
Mubarak is being treated in a military hospital for a heart condition. His trial opened on August 3, after protesters stepped up demonstrations calling on the ruling military to try him and ex-regime officials.