Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who is on trial for conspiring to kill as many as 840 civilian protesters during the uprising that brought him down, returned to court on Wednesday.
Mubarak's trial resumed after a three-month hiatus, and the ousted president's health appeared to be in the same condition as earlier in the trial. The New York Times reported that Mubarak was flown in by helicopter and wheeled into the courtroom on a gurney, surrounded by guards and covered in a thick green blanket.
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In addition to the charges surrounding the deaths of protesters, Mubarak also faces charges that he used his position as president to enrich himself, his sons and a friend, The Times reported. Many say that the trial is going well for Mubarak, as the prosecution struggles to link him to both the demonstrators' deaths and the corruption charges. The prosecution has largely depended on the president's former government officials to testify, and none have provided the strong, condemnatory statements that Mubarak's opponents have been waiting for.
Mubarak’s defense minister and the current leader of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, testified in a closed-door session that the former president had not ordered military force to silence the protesters, The Times reported. Tantawi and the military have been applauded for publicly announcing that the Egyptian military would not use force against civilian demonstrators, lawyers have said.
At today's trial, lawyers for the families of the slain protesters insisted on summoning Army Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan, the deputy head of Egypt’s ruling military council, as a witness. Anan was scheduled to testify in September, but he was delayed when the prosecutors claimed that Judge Ahmed Refaat was biased in Mubarak's favor, and filed a motion against him. The court rejected the motion at the beginning of December, Ahram Online reported, and Judge Refaat is still presiding over the trial.
Several Egyptian news organizations have reported that Mubarak’s defense lawyers are planning to argue that the recent outbreaks of violence in Cairo support their case that the president was not to blame for the deaths of civilians during the Arab Spring, according to The Times.
Both supporters and opponents of Mubarak held demonstrations outside the courthouse, but no violence was reported. The trial has been postponed again until January 2nd, according to Ahram.
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