Last updated: 10 January, 2012

Mubarak defence will last a month

Defence lawyers in the trial of ex-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, his sons and seven former security officials will begin to present their cases from next Tuesday and have a month to wrap them up, the presiding judge said.

Ahmed Refaat made the announcement Tuesday as lawyers representing families of protesters killed in the revolt that unseated Mubarak concluded their case and urged the court to sentence him to death, an AFP correspondent reported.

For the first time since the trial started on August 3, Egypt’s ailing former strongman sat in a wheelchair instead of lying on a stretcher, the correspondent said.

Judge Refaat said he decided “to allocate 25 session to the defence.”

The first five days will be dedicated to the team defending Mubarak and his sons, with the remainder to lawyers representing former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six top security chiefs.

The last hearing is set for February 16.

The court is then expected to recess for deliberation after which the judge will set a date for the verdict.

The prosecution has called for Mubarak to be hanged for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators in the January-February 2011 revolt that forced him out of power.

Last week chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman told the court that Mubarak must have ordered police to open fire on protesters during the 18-day uprising that ended his three-decade rule on February 11, leaving more than 850 dead.

Mubarak — who is detained in a military hospital for a heart condition — went on trial on August 3, after protesters stepped up demonstrations calling on the ruling military to try him and ex-regime officials.

Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are on trial with their father on separate corruption charges.

On Tuesday, families of the victims wrapped up two days of hearings during which they called for the death penalty against Mubarak, whom they hold responsible for the deaths of protesters.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the government addressed the court on Tuesday and asked that Mubarak and his co-defendants pay the authorities one billion

Egyptian pounds ($150 million/117 million euros) in compensation “for the crimes they carried out.”

Ashraf Mukhtar said the funds were needed to cover “compensation paid to the families of the victims, those wounded and to rebuild property destroyed” during the demonstrations.