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Egypt report finds 846 killed in protests; Mubarak blamed for violence

A panel of judges says deposed president Hosni Mubarak is to blame for police orders to open fire on protesters.

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An Egyptian protester wearing the mask of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stands with handcuffs inside a makeshift prison cell at Cairo's Tahrir Square on April 8, 2011 during a demonstration attended by tens of thousands of Egyptians. (Misam Saleh/AFP/Getty Images)

A total of 846 people died in the recent protests in Egypt, an inquiry into the violence said, accusing ousted president Hosni Mubarak of complicity in attacks on demonstrators.

The casualty figure, which included 6,000 wounded, is more than double the 380 fatalities initially claimed by authorities in the wake of the so-called January 25 revolution.

A report by a panel of judges said Mubarak was ultimately to blame for attacks in which riot police shot protesters in the head and chest using live ammunition since his interior minister, Habib el-Adli, had ordered them to open fire.

The report by the government-appointed committee said security forces had acted unlawfully in their attempts to crush the uprising.

"The right of peaceful assembly is a recognized and basic human freedom," the report said.

"It is needless to say that the incidents of shootings and the consequential deaths throughout the events of the January 25 Revolution breached legally mandated regulations," it said.

"What is confirmed is that Mubarak's permission [to use live fire on protesters] must be obtained," Judge Omar Marwan, the inquiry's chairman, said. "The shooting lasted for several days, and he did not hold accountable those who fired live rounds."

"That confirms his involvement in responsibility," he said.

The panel said that the former ruling National Democratic Party marshaled pro-Mubarak demonstrators to attack anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 2, in an incident known as "Bloody Wednesday", the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mubarak's supporters surged into the square, attacking protesters with stones and Molotov cocktails while police fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

"The fatal shots were due to firing bullets at the head and the chest," the report said, according to the Associated Press.

Mubarak, recently hospitalized for a mild heart attack, was last week remanded in custody for 15 days on suspicion of involvement in protesters' deaths.

His interior minister al-Adli is on trial for the shootings, while other former regime officials -- including his sons Alaa and Gamal -- are facing charges relating to the uprising and corruption.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/110420/egypt-mubarak-deaths-protests