Last updated: 2 October, 2011

Mubarak ‘never told army to fire on crowds’

Ousted president Hosni Mubarak never ordered the army to open fire on demonstrators calling for an end to his rule, Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said on Sunday.

“The armed forces fight for Egypt and not for just anyone, whoever it may be,” he said in a speech at a ceremony south of the capital.

“I testified before God and I told the truth,” he said.

“Nobody asked us to open fire and nobody will open fire” on the people, said Tantawi, who took over power from Mubarak for whom he served as defence minister until his fall on February 11 in the face of nationwide protests.

Tantawi testified behind closed doors on September 24 in Mubarak’s trial over the killings of hundreds of demonstrators. The next hearing is scheduled for October 30.

The court has issued a gag order on his testimony and the session’s proceedings, warning local and international media of legal action if they violate the blackout.

The police and regime were at the forefront of the repression of the protests in which 850 people died, according to an official count.