First witnesses in court for Mubarak trial

Sun Sep 4, 2011 10:25pm GMT

By Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO (Reuters) - A top police official and three other officers will testify on Monday in the trial of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the first witnesses to take the stand in a case that has gripped Egypt and the Arab world.

Egyptians were stunned by television images of their 83-year-old former president of 30 years being wheeled into a cage in court lying on a hospital bed in the first two sessions. By order of the judge, no more sessions will be televised.

One reason Judge Ahmed Refaat gave for banning live cameras was to protect the testimony of witnesses. Lawyers, who applauded the decision, said it was to prevent witnesses being influenced by each other or the public.

Mubarak is the first Arab leader to stand trial in person since popular uprisings swept the Middle East this year.

"We are expecting to hear the testimony of four witnesses that the prosecution has asked for to prove the charges against Mubarak and the others," said Gamal Eid, a lawyer representing 16 of the roughly 850 people killed in the uprising.

Mubarak is charged with involvement in the killing of the protesters.

Eid said one of the witnesses is a top police officer, General Hussein Saeed Mohamed Mursi, who worked in the operations room of the police force during the uprising.

"(Mursi) had been accused in a decision issued by the general prosecutor of deleting those recordings but he later turned into a witness," Eid said.   Continued...

An employee hangs up a poster of Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak before a news conference by Kuwaiti lawyers joining Mubarak's defence team in Cairo September 4, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany
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