Mubarak back in court amid heavy security
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Cairo - Heavy security troops were deployed on Wednesday outside a Cairo courthouse as the trial of Hosni Mubarak and his top aides resumed on charges of ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters during Egypt's uprising earlier this year.
The 83-year old and ailing Mubarak was brought by a helicopter from a medical center where he is being detained during the proceedings to the courthouse on Cairo's outskirts. As in earlier hearings, he was rolled into the courtroom on a gurney.
Although previous trial sessions saw heavy scuffles between opponents and supporters of the ousted Egyptian leader, the security presence was exceptionally high Wednesday following three hours of overnight rioting by soccer fans in Cairo that left more than 100 people injured. Fourteen soccer fans were arrested in the riots.
Hundreds of security vehicles, armored cars, ambulances and firefighting trucks lined up the streets around the courthouse, and security forces surrounded the families of the victims who died during the uprising.
Few Mubarak supporters showed up for the session but the soccer fans were outside the court, shouting slogans against the security agencies, arguing with the security forces and warning of a “new revolution.”
The uprising that toppled Mubarak was fueled large part by anger over years of rampant police abuse and brutality.
Putting Mubarak on trial has been a rallying cry for many who saw it as a symbolic end to the three decades of his authoritarian rule. But since it started on Aug. 3, Egyptian activists and families of the nearly 850 victims of the uprising have voiced concerns about the proceedings.
During the previous session that lasted over 10 hours on Monday, the prosecution's witnesses stunned the courtroom when they testified there had been no orders to fire at the protesters. The testimony undermined the prosecution's chief argument.
Also, the judge's decision last month to ban live television coverage of the trial has frustrated hundreds of victims' families and ordinary Egyptians who want to follow the historic proceedings.
The judge is expected to hear more testimonies from the prosecution witnesses Wednesday. - Sapa-AP