Presiding judge of Mubarak's retrial withdraws, case postponed

The presiding judge in former President Hosni Mubarak's retrial on Saturday withdrew from the case and referred it to the Cairo Appeal Court Saturday morning, state TV reported.

Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah appeared in court for less than two minutes and announced his withdrawal and referred the case to the Cairo Appeal Court.

People attending the court session were greatly pleased by his decision, shouting "Justice, justice, God is greater." According to lawyers of the victims who died in 2011's massive demonstration, Abdullah acquitted last October all the defendants accused of sending men on camels and horses to breakup demonstrators' lines, which was known as Camel Battle and killed dozens of people.

Mubarak entered the courtroom around 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) in an ambulance stretcher. With sunglasses on his face, he appeared relaxed and confident, smiling from time to time.

Noticing the camera outside the iron cage, he even waved his hands to it. His two sons stood beside him, chatting with their father continuously, with smile on their faces. Ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and Mubarak's six assistants sat one meter away from them, looking more serious and gloomy.

After Abdullah's withdrawal, Mubarak was wheeled outside the room and taken back to the Maadi Military hospital.

Mubarak is currently serving life imprisonment for involvement in the deaths of protesters in January 2011 upheaval and other charges including corruption and profiteering.

Dozens of Mubarak supporters appeared outside the Police Academy, where the retrial was held, in T-shirts with Mubarak's name, calling themselves "the sons of Mubarak."

"Where is the security that prevailed in Mubarak's times," they chanted. "When Mubarak was ousted, security and safety were ousted. " Some Mubarak supporters brought statue of him wearing a suit and tie made from clay.

On the other side, the families of the victims who died in 2011 's massive demonstration carried slogans saying "revenge for sons freed the country from corruption."

Several hundreds of security men were deployed in the area as well as six ambulances and several armored vehicles.

The retrial will also include an accusation against Mubarak of facilitating a natural gas deal with Israel. On Sunday, Prosecutor-General Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah ordered extension of Mubarak's detention as interrogations revealed that he kept the public funds allocated for maintenance and other works in the presidential palaces for himself, his wife Suzanne Thabet and his two sons.

On March 3, the Cairo Appeals Court set April 13 to retry Mubarak, his two sons, the interior minister and six other officials from the former regime.

Philippines News agency