Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Mubarak 'ordered use of live ammo'

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is being transported to and from his trial on a hospital stretcher, it is thought he is suffering from cancer (AP)

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, his security chief and six top police officers were personally responsible for the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's uprising, his trial has heard.

Mubarak and his seven co-defendants are facing charges of complicity in the killings and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said they clearly authorised the use of live ammunition and a shoot-to-kill policy against peaceful protesters.

Mr Suleiman said the prosecution had to launch its own probe, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, doctors and police officers to build its case, after security forces ignored their requests for help in the inquiry.

He said the decision to use live ammunition was taken on January 27 last year, just before the most violent day of the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on February 11.

Dubbed the "Friday of Rage," January 28 also saw the deployment of army troops in Cairo and across much of the nation, as well as the yet to be explained disappearance of security forces.

The prosecution also showed video of the violence taken by TV stations. They showed police officers loading their weapons with live ammunition and police and fire engine trucks chasing protesters and running them over. One video showed a police officer perched on top of a police car and killing a protester with a gunshot to the head.

"The defendants before you in the cage are the actual instigators and are the ones who gave police officers the order to shoot," said Mr Suleiman. He also said that the prosecution has evidence that the regime used "thugs" against the protesters.

"The protesters were peaceful, and it was the police that started firing on them," he said.

He said the Interior Minister and the country's intelligence agency ignored the prosecution's requests for information on the circumstances surrounding the killings. "They deliberately sought to mislead justice," he said, noting that the widespread disarray in the state at the time of the probe or the wish to protect their own may have been behind the lack of cooperation.

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