The Fifth Settlement Criminal Court ordered the recommencement of the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak on Saturday where it heard witness testimonies from former commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces during the 25 January Revolution Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
According to Yasser Sayed Ahmad, the attorney representing the victims, Tantawi was asked 84 questions. Ahmad said that he asked him five questions, while Mubarak’s attorney Fareed Al-Deeb asked him three.
The court was adjourned until 15 and 16 December, when other individuals are set to testify, including former military Chief of Staff General Sami Annan and former Chief of the Military Police General Hamdy Badeen. Badeen was set to testify on 18 November but was unable to appear in court as he is serving as the military attaché to the Egyptian consulate in China.
Mubarak is being tried for his role in failing to prevent the killing of protestors during the 25 January Revolution and charges related to the illicit exportation of gas to Israel.
Former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly, six of his aides, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem are also all facing charges, which range from killing protestors to financial corruption.
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were found not guilty for the killing of protesters, but were to remain in custody for corruption charges they are facing.
The six aides of Habib El-Adly are: Major General Ahmed Ramzi, former head of the Central Security Forces; Major General Adly Fayed, former head of the Department of Public Security; Major General Hassan Abdel-Rahman, former head of State Security; Major General Ismail Al-Shaer, former head of the Cairo Security Directorate; Major General Osama Al-Marasy, former head of the Giza Security Directorate; and Major General Omar Farmawi, head of the 6th of October Security Directorate.
Presiding Judge Mahmoud Kamel El-Rachidi ordered a media blackout on the current sessions. On 10 June El-Rachidi banned the civil claims lawyers representing the victims from being present at the retrial for it to remain exclusive to defendants and the prosecution.
The trial has been ongoing for over two years. Mubarak initially received a life sentence but the prosecution and defence attorneys appealed the sentence. On 13 January, the Court of Cassation accepted the appeal and ordered the case back to the Cairo Criminal Court for a retrial. Since the retrial the court has heard witness statements from former prime ministers Atef Ebeid and Ahmad Nazif, former Minister of Interior Ahmad Gamal Al-Din, first assistant to the interior minister for technical affairs Murtada Ibrahim AbdelRahman, former Major General Ahmed Omar Abu Saoud and current Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail.
On 12 August 2012 former President Mohamed Morsi decided to retire most of the military’s top brass, including Tantawi. Morsi then awarded Tantawi Egypt’s top state honour, “The Order of the Nile”.
Tantawi chaired the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) for a year and a half after Mubarak stepped down on 11 February 2011. Revolutionary movements have been calling for the trial of Tantawi for his role in killing protesters on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, and clashes by the state television studio dubbed the “Maspero massacre”, among other events that occurred under the SCAF.