Mubarak’s trial: A session that took too long

Arresting anti-Mubarak demonstrator, whose head is bleeding after being hit with a stone by pro-Mubarak demonstrators. September 5, 2011. REUTERS

On Monday, I followed Mubarak’s trial with my colleague Rana Khazbak. I was stuck in the office for more than ten hours writing updates while Rana was doing a tiring job at the Police Academy especially when she had to interview some of those aliens who call themselves “Sons of Mubarak.”

Here is our work which was published in Al-Masry Al-Youm:

9:32 pm: Images broadcasted live from state TV show Mubarak being wheeled from the courtroom to an ambulance.

9:30 pm: The trial is adjourned until Wednesday.

9:18 pm: Eyewitness says that around ten anti-Mubarak protesters are still waiting outside the Police Academy. Most security forces and military tanks left the site.

9:10 pm: According to eyewitnesses, most of the lawyers from both the prosecution and defense have left the courtroom.

9:01 pm: The fourth witness, Mahmoud Galal Abdel Hamid, said he didn’t know whether there were snipers targeting protesters.

8:49 pm: Former Justice Minister Mahmoud Abuel Leil: Police violence was directed at anti-Mubarak protesters on Monday.

8:40  pm: A security official told Al-MAsry Al-Youm that 20,000 Central Security soldiers, 60 armored vehicles, and 40 military tanks were deployed to protect the courtroom inside the Police Academy compound.

8:13 pm: The fourth witness, Mahmoud Galal Abdel Hamid, appeared before the judge for questioning. A few minutes later, Judge Refaat ordered a court recess for the fifth time since today’s session first began ten hours ago.

8:08 pm: Egyptian tweeps were imbued with a deep sense of anger over witnesses who allege that they hadn’t received direct orders to kill protesters.

Some tweeps mocked the proceedings. For example, Journalist Yosri Fouda wrote: “In the next session: [Protesters] in Tahrir Square stood on American University, and killed Mubarak and Adly and 800 police officers.”

7:45 pm: Tarek Shaker, a lawyer representing the martyrs’ families, told reporters that today’s session is a farce. According to him, witnesses who were summoned to testify against Mubarak and Adly had actually weakened the case against them.

7:41 pm: Asked if police officers received orders to shoot protesters, third witness Captain Basem Hassan told the judge that they didn’t. When asked why they were given automatic weapons, Hassan answered: it was only deterrence.

Hassan was asked if there were orders to shoot the protesters if they reached the Ministry of Interior headquarters. He answered: the orders were to shoot at people’s legs and in the air.

7:21 pm: The second witness, Major Emad Badry, finished his testimony. Now the judge is listening to the third witness, Captain Basem Hassan, a police officer in the Operations Department at the Central Security Forces.

7:12 pm: Major Emad Badry told the judge that General Ramzy told police officers to treat the protesters as they would their brothers and sisters.

7:08 pm: Lawyers of the martyrs’ families cast doubt over the testimony of the first witness, General Moussa, who said that Adly didn’t give orders to shoot protesters.

Moussa confessed to the court that he received two years in prison due to his role in destroying a CD that contained recordings of communications between top police officers during revolution.

Some lawyers argue that Moussa should be a defendent rather than a witness.

6:54 pm: Major Emad Badry told the judge a large number of automatic weapons were transported on 26 January from Central Security Forces storage facilities.

6:50 pm: Session resumes with testimony of Major Emad Badry, a police officer in the Operations Department at the Central Security Forces.

6:30 pm: During his testimony before the court, General Moussa was challenged by prosecutors who say that he told the judge a different account than the one he provided prosecutors.

According to lawyers who attended the session, Moussa told prosecutors that the order to shoot protestors was given by Ramzy following Adly’s approval. If the lawyers are correct, this means that Moussa, while being investigated by the prosecutors, blamed Adly for shooting protesters.

Some lawyers who attended the session also say that Moussa confessed to prosecutors that the Central Security Forces were provided automatic weapons. However, Moussa told the judge earlier today that Central Security Forces were only provided tear gas and riot gear.

6:19 pm: Central Security Forces left their positions outside the police academy according to an Al-Masry Al-Youm correspondent.

5:50 pm: Before the court recess, the lawyers finished cross-examining the first witness, General Moussa. When asked why forces guarding the Ministry of Interior on 28 January were provided machine guns, Moussa answered that the order came from Ramzy.

Human rights activist and Lawyer Gamal Eid tweeted from the courtroom that the police officer responsible for transferring weapons and ammunition was Brigadier General Emad Atiya. The prosecutors didn’t interrogate Atiya at all, according to Eid.

5:45 pm: Judge Refaat orders a court recess for the fourth time. Following the recess, the judge will summon the second witness to testify.

5:40 pm: A female TV journalist, Dalia Abu Ameira, from the privately owned Mehwar channel, was accosted by female anti-Mubarak protesters as she was leaving the courtroom.

5:29 pm: A security source said that 22 were arrested earlier today outside the Police Academy after they clashed with Central Security Forces, according to state-run news agency MENA. The same source added that 14 soldiers were injured in the clashes.

5:15 pm: A security source said that there are no critical injuries among those injured during clashes that erupted earlier today between Mubarak supporters and anti-Mubarak protesters outside the Police Academy, according to state-run news agency MENA. The Health Ministry announced earlier that 12 people were injured.

5:10 pm: Dozens protest in front of the public prosecution office in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement neighborhood to demand the release of 22 anti-Mubarak protesters arrested on Monday by security forces near the Police Academy.

4:55 pm: Lawyers of the martyrs’ families start questioning the first witness, General Moussa.

4:45 pm: The trial resumes.

4:35 pm: Images broadcasted by Al Jazeera show that outside the Police Academy, police have violently dispersed anti-Mubarak protesters and brutally arrested some of them.

4:30 pm: Anti-Mubarak protesters smashed the glass of a car that allegedly belong to Mubarak supporters, Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent at the Police Academy reports.

4:10 pm: The number of anti-Mubarak protesters outside the Police Academy has decreased significantly. Scores of people remain, but there are no Mubarak supporters outside the cordon, Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent said, adding that the situation is generally calm right now.

4:00 pm: Clashes erupted a few minutes ago in the courtroom between the defendants’ lawyers and members of martyrs’ families. They were throwing shoes at each other.

3:50 pm: Al Jazeera has reported that paramedics have refused to treat injured anti-Mubarak protesters who were arrested awhile ago.

3:40 pm: According to Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent, 21 anti-Mubarak protesters were arrested. Among the protesters was activist Amr Morsy from the April 6 Youth Movement-Democratic Front, who’s alleged to be injured.

3:35 pm: The Health Ministry has announced that the number of people injured in clashes outside the Police Academy has risen to 12.

3:30 pm: Judge Refaat orders a recess for the third time.

3:25 pm: The session resumed a few minutes ago. There’s chaos in the courtroom as the judge allows the lawyers of the martyrs to cross-examine General Moussa.

3:00 pm: Here’s a wrap-up of the testimony of General Moussa, the first witness.

Moussa said former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly didn’t order the use of weapons against protesters. He said Ahmed Ramzy, former assistant minister for the Central Security Forces, is the person responsible for this order.

During the beginning of his testimony, Moussa told Judge Refaat that he was responsible for following all the communications of the Central Security Forces all over Egypt. He said he heard an order to use automatic weapons against protesters on 28 January.

The judge asked Moussa what exactly he heard. Moussa said, “I heard the general [Ramzy] on 28 January saying that there will be attacks on the [headquarters of the] Interior Ministry and police stations. They [Ramzy] asked for support of automatic weapons.”

The judge then asked Moussa: “Who specifically issued the order to provide the security forces with machine guns?” Moussa answered: “General Ahmed Ramzy.”

The judge asked: “Was there anyone else [who ordered providing the security forces with automatic weapons]?”

Moussa answered: “No, he [Ramzy] made it unilaterally.”

The judge then asked Moussa if he heard any conversation about using automatic weapons.

Moussa said: “Yes, I heard that weapons were used against protesters.”

The judge asked Moussa: “Did you know if Adly ordered the use of weapons against protesters?”

Moussa answered: “I don’t know.”

2:50 pm: The trial is in recess.

2:14 pm: General Moussa says that recorded conversations between police officers indicate that weapons were only used at the Interior Ministry.

2:07 pm: Weapons and ammunition were transferred in ambulances to the Interior Ministry headquarters, police stations and prisons, General Moussa said, according to state TV.

2:05 pm: General Moussa ruled out the possibility that security forces used machine guns against protesters during the revolution, state TV reports.

1:46 pm: After resuming the session, Judge Refaat ordered the expulsion of the lawyer who held up Mubarak’s photo in the courtroom.

1:41 pm: The atmosphere outside the Police Academy is getting tense after verbal clashes erupted between anti-Mubarak protesters and police officers guarding the academy. A woman in her 40s was insulted and chased by Central Security Forces, Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent reports.

1:37 pm: General Moussa says that Central Security Forces received orders to use tear gas against protesters on the night of 25 January.

1:33 pm: Police pulled one anti-Mubarak protester into the cordon surrounding the Police Academy, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent, who added that a group of Mubarak’s supporters are being protected by the police away from anti-Mubarak protesters.

1:16 pm: Judge Refaat resumes the session, state TV reports, calling the first witness – General Hussein Saeed Mohamed Moussa, head of communications for Central Security Forces – to the stand.

1:08 pm: Plaintiffs’ lawyers are chanting anti-Mubarak slogans, state TV reports.

1:05 pm: State TV reports that Judge Refaat has ordered that three of the witnesses – who were in the Interior Ministry operations room during the revolution – be put in a separate room, away from the influence of the lawyers.

12:55 pm: The Health Ministry has said that nine people were injured in clashes between Mubarak’s supporters and anti-Mubarak protesters. The ministry has said that it treated five people injured at the Police Academy and that it transferred four to New Cairo Hospital.

12:50 pm: Al-Masry Al-Youm learned that the 10 Kuwaiti lawyers who came to Egypt to join Mubarak’s defense team were not allowed into the court when the trial began earlier this morning.

State TV confirmed that some of the plaintiff lawyers burned a photo of Mubarak inside the courtroom, after one of Mubarak’s lawyers held up a photo of the former president.

12:46 pm: Sameh Ashour, an ex-head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate and a member of the group of lawyers representing the martyrs’ families, told state TV that they will request that the judge summon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the court to testify about the details of the gas deal between Egypt and Israel.

12:40 pm: Police ordered an ambulance to transfer a group of remaining Mubarak supporters away from the Police Academy, fearing that clashes might erupt again between them and anti-Mubarak protesters.

12:30 pm: Human rights activist Gamal Eid wrote on his Twitter account that a big fight erupted inside the courtroom between lawyers of the defendants and lawyers of the martyrs’ families. State TV has said the clashes started because a lawyer raised a photo of Mubarak. Judge Refaat didn’t oppose people raising pro-Mubarak banners inside the courtroom.

12:20 pm: Scores of anti-Mubarak protesters continue chanting slogans such as “execute the murderer,” and “Oh Mushier [Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi], the blood of the martyrs will not go without punishment.” They also called on people to participate in the million-man march planned to take place in Tahrir Square on 9 September.

12:15 pm: Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent reports that security forces have arrested at least four anti-Mubarak protesters outside the Police Academy.

12:02 pm:  Judge Ahmed Refaat calls for a recess after clashes erupted inside the courtroom between Mubarak’s defense team and lawyers of the martyrs’ families. The defendants leave the dock.

11:55 am: According to Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent, clashes erupted again between Mubarak’s supporters and families of protesters killed in the revolution. No injuries were reported. The correspondent has said also that many of Mubarak’s supporters have left the Police Academy.

11:53 am: The lawyer of Ahmed Ramzy, former assistant minister for the Central Security Forces, demands to see records of the number of the Central Security Forces deployed and the weapons they were provided with from 24 to 28 January, state TV reports.

11:52 am: The state-run news agency MENA has quoted a source at the Health Ministry as saying that the ministry has allocated 15 ambulances and two moveable clinics to be on alert outside the Police Academy.

11:50 am: State TV reports that the lawyers of Adly and his aides demand to see the minutes of ministerial meetings that took place between 20 January and 22 January. Lawyers say the meetings were attended by Hussein Tantawi, then defense minister, as well as former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, and Adly. Lawyers allege that during the meetings, the officials discussed the security plan to deal with the planned protests.

11:40 am: State TV says Mubarak’s lawyer has demanded to see records of all government-owned land that was allocated in the past decade to people other than Mubarak confidant and business tycoon Hussein Salem, who is being tried in the same session in absentia.

11:30 am: The defendants’ lawyers have said they received the medical records of those injured and killed during the revolution, state TV reports.

11:23 am: State TV reports that the trial has started.

11:10 am: Images from state TV show an ambulance carrying Mubarak stopping outside the courtroom, guarded by masked and gunned army officers. Mubarak entered a room in the academy, and a hospital bed was brought outside the room. However, Mubarak himself wasn’t seen.

11:00 am: State TV has reported that the session hasn’t started yet. It also said that a few minutes ago, a plane carrying Mubarak arrived at the Police Academy from the International Medical Center, where the former president is being hospitalized.

State TV has also reported that former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and his aides, along with Mubarak’s sons, arrived at the Police Academy earlier in the morning.

10:50 am: State TV has reported that police arrested a number of people who are “causing disorder” outside the courtroom.

10:00 am: Eyewitnesses have said that scores of people were injured in clashes that erupted this morning between Mubarak’s supporters and families of protesters killed in the revolution. Dozens of ambulances have carried the injured to nearby hospitals.

According to Al-Masry Al-Youm’s correspondent at the Police Academy, Central Security Forces (CSF) violently dispersed families of protesters killed in the revolution, chasing them away from the academy. Police also chased away those injured who tried to speak with journalists and reporters.

9:12 am: Supporters of the 83-year-old Mubarak and the families of protesters killed in the revolution have gathered outside the heavily fortified police academy where the courtroom has been set up. The two sides scuffled and hurled stones at each other. Eyewitnesses said at least four members of the martyrs’ families were injured after police forces tried to prevent them from accessing the police academy without permits.

8:00 am: Ousted President Hosni Mubarak is returning to court for a third hearing in his trial on charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of more than 860 protesters during the 18-day-revolution that toppled him.

Four policemen will take the stand to testify against Mubarak and his top security officials. Egyptians will no longer be able to watch the proceedings live because the judge banned cameras at the end of the last session on 15 August.

Mubarak’s sons are also to appear at Monday’s session. They are charged with corruption.

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