Update: In court, Mubarak denies killing protesters during revolution

In his address to court in the case where he is accused of killing protesters during the January 25 revolution in 2011, former President Hosni Mubarak said that he ordered the military to support security forces on January 28 after the the police were unable to carry out their duties.

Mubarak, who arrived late in court because a fog allegedly prevented his plane from taking off, reminded the court that he offered various concessions during the revolution, including holding early presidential elections in September 2011 and eventually resigned from his post to stop the bloodshed.

“I am not speaking for sympathy, I am defending myself today in the face of accusations. I am only human and I make mistakes. I bore the responsibility,” he said, seated on his bed. “I did not order the killing of protesters.”

In his 30-minutes speech, Mubarak went on to remind the court of his personal achievements.

“The wheel of history does not move backward, and no one can falsify history. My time in power was tainted with accusations and any accomplishments were ignored. I never sought power and bore the responsibility under the president who was killed at the hands of terrorism,” he said, referring to assassinated President Anwar Sadat. “I combatted threats to national security on Egypt’s borders. From day one, I combated threats to national security and terrorism aggressively. Egypt was victorious in fighting terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s, as it will be in the future.”

He also spoke of economic achievements and development despite the surge in the population, as well as constitutional reforms he implemented to expand the space for democracy and freedom.

“I do not agree with accusations against me of financial corruption or abusing my position in power. My military honor does not allow me to do this,” he said. “I didn’t speak today to highlight my achievements in my country.”

Finally, Mubarak warned about mixing religion with politics, telling Egyptians to preserve unity and to be wary of conspiracies.

Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, who are also accused with him on charges of squandering public funds, did not wish to address the court, though Gamal submitted a memo to the judges.

Also in today’s session, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, another defendant in the case, carried on his address to the court, which has started on Saturday. Adly reiterated his previous allegation of the 2011 revolution being a conspiracy, citing the testimonials of various top state officials to the court in the last three years. In his continuing speech today, Adly also went on dismissing the Muslim Brotherhood as the implementers of the January 25 conspiracy against Egypt, in tandem with the general anti-Brotherhood sentiment that rose during and following their ouster in 2013.

Adly used the testimonial by former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Hussein Tantawi, as he said that what happened in January 2011 was beyond the state’s ability to contain it. Tantawi was cited by Adly as saying that the January events were a part of a US conspiracy to change the face of the Middle East and that the Muslim Brotherhood executed the plan. Referencing Hassan al-Roweiny, member of SCAF, Adly said that the military commander spoke of reports of activists belonging to the April 6 Youth Movement receiving foreign funds to present reports to the US about the political situation in Egypt. Adly went on to dismiss activist Wael Ghonim as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was paid large sums of money from his employer Google and reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei as an American agent who has long disrespected Egyptians.

In previous sessions, Adly pressed charges against activists Samia Jaheen, Ahmad Douma and Gameela Ismail for setting police stations ablaze during the January 2011 revolution. The Cairo Criminal Court referred the charges to the Prosecutor General accordingly.

Adly also emphasized the scale of the alleged conspiracy by pointing out that the police did nor fire at protesters as they were unarmed.

According to Adly, Tantawi denied that snipers targeting protesters from the top of buildings belonged to the police, adding that they actually were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Adly also cited the testimonial of Sami Anan, the former military chief of staff and Mourad Mowafy, former spy chief, who both confirmed that the police have no snipers. He said that the prison break-ins during the revolution were undertaken by the Gaza-based Hamas and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. Roweiny added that the Qassam Brigades, the military arm of the Hamas group, were also part of the group that assaulted the police in January 2011.

Tantawi added that there was no order to remove police forces from Tahrir Square during the protests, according to Adly. Anan said, according to Adly, that the violence during the revolution was the product of the pressure under which the police forces were put under. Otherwise, according to Anan, the police forces follow the model of the Armed Forces in dealing with protesters, namely self-restraint, Adly said.

Adly went on to praise the June 30 protests that demanded the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood, and saw the rise of the military to power as the corrective revolution that revealed the conspiracy behind January 25, 2011.

He also commented on the state of affairs by referring to an interview President Sisi had on Sky News Arabia, where he claimed that before 2011, Egypt was ranked second in the world in fighting organized crime, whereas now it is ranked at 132.

“If I had time, I would have told you who the Muslim Brotherhood really are,” he told the judges.

Yet Adly added that as a man of security, he doesn’t intervene in political matters.

Adly and Mubarak were handed a life sentence in June 2012, while an appeal on the verdict was accepted in 2013. The court ajourned the case until September 27, when a verdict is expected to be issued.

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