Egypt chief prosecutor: Mubarak was ‘tyrannical leader’
CAIRO - Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday portrayed ousted president Hosni Mubarak as a "tyrannical leader", as they made their opening arguments in his murder trial.
The ailing 83-year-old former strongman, who was wheeled into court on a stretcher, is accused of involvement in the deaths of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in February.
His former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six security chiefs were also in the dock, as were his two sons Alaa and Gamal who are being tried on corruption charges.
Mubarak was "a tyrannical leader who sought to hand power to his younger son Gamal, who spread corruption in the country and opened the door to his friends and relatives, ruining the country without any accountability," said prosecutor .
Judge Ahmed Refaat heard from the prosecution for an hour before adjourning the hearing to Wednesday.
Police and army troops were deployed to secure the trial at the Police Academy, which once bore Mubarak's name.
The prosecution has been given three days to make its case after Judge Refaat previously heard arguments from lawyers representing the families of the alleged victims.
Mubarak is the first leader toppled in the Arab Spring uprisings to appear in court.
The hearings began on August 3 after months of protests to pressure the military rulers to place the former strongman on trial along with ex-regime officials.
There was a three months hiatus when lawyers for the alleged victims had tried to dismiss Judge Refaat, whom they accused of bias towards the defence. The request was subsequently denied.
Relatives of those who died in the protests say their hopes to see Mubarak sentenced have been dashed by a string of witnesses who mostly confirmed the defence's case that the former president never gave orders to shoot protesters.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's former defence minister who is now the country's military ruler, testified in camera. The court issued a gag order on his testimony, but lawyers say he did not incriminate Mubarak.
Mubarak is in custody in a military hospital on Cairo's outskirts, where he is being treated for a heart condition. His lawyer says he suffers from stomach cancer.
Tuesday's hearing comes as Egyptians in a third of the country's 27 provinces were voting in the final round of landmark parliamentary elections.