Mubarak appears in court second time to stand trial

Mubarak along with his two sons Alaa and Gamal was in a dock in a cage built for his safety. He was flown in by a helicopter from a Cairo hospital where he is detained since his first court appearance on August 3. The ousted leader was seen exchanging words with his sons who were in white prison uniform, even as the judge tried to restore order in the court-room.

Though the 83-year-old Mubarak has pleaded not guilty to the charges of ordering firing on pro-democracy protesters during the 18-day anti-regime demonstrations, seeking his ouster. The judge has ordered continuation of his trial after he appeared early this month. Mubarak has also been hauled up in corruption charges. Mubarak faces death penalty if found guilty of ordering the killing of protesters.

A number of Mubarak supporters had gathered, some chanting: “He is Egyptian until death” and “Hosni Mubarak is not Saddam”. Scuffles broke out at regular intervals with anti-Mubarak protesters.

A military helicopter landed at the site, carrying Mubarak. State TV showed the former president, wearing a blue jumpsuit, being wheeled out of an ambulance on a hospital bed. His son Alaa tried to cover the camera. The second hearing in the historic trial could decide if the head of the ruling military council, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, will take the stand as a witness to give testimony on Mubarak’s role in trying to suppress the 18-day uprising.

Tantawi, who was defence minister for two decades under Mubarak, heads the military council that took power when Mubarak was ousted on February 11 by the mass protests.

The trial of Egypt’s former interior minister Habib Al-Adil, also accused of ordering firing on protesters, and six of his deputies resumed under tight security in Cairo on Sunday.

“Tantawi’s testimony would help the court determine whether Mubarak gave orders to al-Adli to fire at protesters or whether Adli was acting independently,” a member of the defence team, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

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