More controversy rushed into the courtroom Monday at former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s trial as a senior state security official testified he was unaware of any orders to shoot protesters while a courtroom fight between lawyers added to the drama.
Gen. Hussein Saied Moussa delivered what appeared to be a contradiction to statements he made in earlier interrogations on whether orders to fire on demonstrators was given by the interior ministry or if Mubarak was also involved in the orders.
Moussa testified that Gen. Ahmed Ramzy, head of Central Command, had given “his orders to prevent protesters from reaching Tahrir Square. The direct order was for each general to deal with protesters according to his own vision of the situation,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ramzy, one of the defendants in the trial, then told security forces “to protect the [Interior] Ministry” with automatic weapons, if needed, Moussa continued in his testimony.
One prosecuting attorney told the judge “a number of Moussa’s answers contradict with answers he gave during interrogations,” according to the Times.
Mubarak arrived at the courthouse, wheeled in on a gurney after a helicopter flight from the hospital where he has been since April. He is facing the death penalty if convicted of complicity to commit murder in the the January 25 Revolution. The uprising between Jan. 25 and Feb. 11 left more than 850 people dead and led to Mubarak’s ouster.
Outside the courthouse, dozens were injured as violence erupted between Mubarak supporters and opponents, including families of killed protesters. “We have not abandoned you,” Mubark’s supporters shouted. Answering their shouts, their rivals answered back, “Punishment, punishment, they killed our children with bullets,” AllAfrica reports.
Unlike the first two trial sessions, this one was held off-camera due to an electrified atmosphere at the last hearing. It mattered not, as Monday’s session saw lawyers on both sides enter a ruckus which began after a Mubarak supporter raised up a photo of the former leader, angering families of some of the killed protesters. Police stepped in to separate the affair before the judge called a 45-minute recess.
The Cairo trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.