CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court headed by Judge Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi, adjourned Thursday the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, and former Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly in the case of killing peaceful protesters during the January 25 Revolution to a final verdict on Sep. 27, 2014.
The court listened in today’s trial session to both Habibel-Adly, the former Minister of Interior, and former president Hosni Mubarak, as it was the first time Mubarak speaks since he stepped down after the January 25 Revolution.
Adly was continuing his plea defending himself in front of the court, until Mubarak arrives after his plane was delayed due to mist.
Adly spoke to the courtand said that “Mubarak didn’t order the police to kill the protesters, and security was keen to secure the crowds.” He also said that the information, which was collected by the Ministry of Interior before the “events of January 25,” assured that there were communications between the Sinai Bedouins and Hamas for coordinating protests that will erupt in the country.
“Former President Mubarak held an emergency meeting with security leaders to take the needed measures to face these protests,” Adly said, adding that in January 27, National Security arrested Muslim Brotherhood members who were going to participate in the demonstrations.
Adly described the January 25 Revolution as a “conspiracy” and said that the only real revolution was the June 30 public demonstration, which had a leader and a target. He also claimed that Mohamed al-Baradie described Egyptian people as “donkeys”, adding that “Baradie signaled protesters to start with his hand after the Friday prayer on January 28, then protesters started to set fire to stores and public properties.”
In response to the general prosecution’s claim that preventing protesters from entering Tahrir Square is a wrong decision, the former minister said that the decision was “a 100% right decision,” adding that it was not a decision to prevent but to limit, “and that was in favor of preventing people from getting injured in the crowds.”
He also said that cutting phone lines in January 28 was in favor of national security.
After a 40-minute break following the Adly plea, former President Mubarak arrived to the court, and started to speak defending himself for the first time in a public speech since he was ousted in Feb. 2011.
Mubarak, after he thanked the court for allowing him to speak in his own defense, said that he is sure that there no one could forge history, and that “God will only allow what really happened to stay in history, and that history will judge what we did and what has been done to us.”
Mubarak said that him and his family had faced a lot of smear campaigns after he stepped down. He also said that, for years while he was in power, his opponents were trying to defame him and detracthis achievements.
The former president said in the televised session that he served the country for 62 years first as a military soldier, then as a vice president and then as the president of the country. “Since 1952 until 1973, I fought all the wars that the country went through, but never sought power.”
“I faced Israel after terrorists killed former president Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, and I restored thelast inch of our land from their hands in 1989,” Mubarak preceded.
Mubarak also said that from his first day in power, he was faced with the 1990 terrorism crisis and he was able to defeat it. He also added that he worked on the development of the country. He said that during his era, Egypt achieved the highest growth rates and highest reserves of foreign exchange, without abandoning social aspects.
He added that when the reports came on the January 25 events, he ordered the army to take to the streets after police had failed to act, and presented a power transition plan in Sep. 2011. Mubarak said he stepped down to prevent bloodshed and preserve the nation’s stability.
“I served this country, I would never be able to order the killing of protesters,” Mubarak said while defending himself in front of the court.
Mubarak repeated much of what he had previously said in the last speech he gave on Feb. 11, 2011. Specific sentences from the 2011 speech were said again in today’s hearing session. Mubarak seemed calm and read the speech from the papers slowly. The words “history will be the judge for what we did or what was done to us,” were also said in his Feb. 2011 speech.
Reactions on social media during and after the “plea” claimed that “Mubarak was not defending himself, but instead, giving a ‘speech’ on Workers Day,” Journalist Mohamed TarekAbd posted on his Facebook account.
“Who is trying who? It’s a speech, not a trial,” Samar Ali wrote on her Facebook.
“Mubarak’s speech today had no relation to what he is accused of,” said lawyer and human rights activistTarek al-Awady to The Cairo Post. Awady added that the time the court decided to take to send its final verdict on the case are not enough for a case like the Mubarak case.
He explained that this means the court might have already taken its decision regarding the case. He also said “the verdict might acquit Mubarak of these charges,” and “if this happened, Mubarak will be released, as Mubarak was sentenced to three years in jail in the presidential palace case, which he has already spent.”
Awady commented that the court was must hand over the trial to a different court after the judge cried in the first session when Adly spoke, adding that “sympathy with the defendant will affect the judge’s verdict,” Awady said.
Mubarak and Adly were sentenced to life in prison for the same charges in 2012 but their lawyers appealed the sentence in January 2013. The Court of Cassation accepted the appeal and ordered the case back to the Cairo Criminal Court for a retrial that began in May 2013.
The defendants are facing charges of inciting the murder of 800 demonstrators during the 18 days ofthe January 25 Revolution and spreading chaos, while thousands were injured.