Egyptian court upholds acquittal of Mubarak allies

Cairo, May 8 (EFE).- An Egyptian appeals court upheld on Wednesday the acquittals of 24 allies of ousted President Hosni Mubarak who were accused of instigating an attack by government supporters on protesters in February 2011.

The defendants, including two former leaders of parliament, were charged with having orchestrated what became known as the "Battle of the Camel."

The Cairo criminal court found all 24 of the accused not guilty after a trial that ended last October, but government prosecutors appealed.

Nearly a dozen people died in the Battle of the Camel, which began Feb. 2, 2011, when Mubarak supporters mounted on horses and camels went on a rampage against anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the uprising that ultimately toppled Egypt's strongman.

The appellate court said the evidence against the defendants was insufficient, consisting mainly of "hearsay" or politically motivated testimony.

All but a handful of the Mubarak loyalists tried for the deaths of more than 800 protesters during the uprising have been acquitted.

Mubarak and erstwhile Interior Minister Habib al-Adli were convicted last year in connection with the killings and sentenced to life in prison.

That verdict, however, was overturned and the appellate court ordered a new trial, set to begin Saturday.