Habib el-Adly, the former interior minister in the regime of Hosni Mubarak, is currently undergoing trial on charges he ordered state security forces to shoot unarmed protesters during the uprising a few months ago.
According to media reports, more than 800 people were killed during the 18-day period of unrest that eventually toppled the Mubarak regime.
He is also being charged with having withdrawn police and security officers from the streets on January 28 -- a measure that led to huge chaos and looting in the streets of Cairo
El-Adly, who has pleaded not guilty, may face a death sentence if he is convicted.
Six former aides of el-Adly are also facing similar charges in a courthouse in a Cairo suburb.
El-Adly is also undergoing a separate trial for fraud, corruption and embezzlement. He also pled not guilty to those charges as well.
The trial is being held under very tight security, with relatives of the alleged victims of the former regime protesting outside, but now allowed access into the courtroom. They reportedly chanted for el-Adly to be put to death.
During the uprising, protesters demanded the resignation and prosecution of el-Adly.
A Cairo-based correspondent for Al Jazeera said: This is the trial of the revolution, the proceedings of which many hope will avenge the families of those who lost their lives or were injured during the 18-day revolt. The way people look at this trial is not just in terms of the fact that it carries the most serious charges into the event of the revolution, the charges of killing the protesters, which carry the death penalty. But also in terms of the symbolism really, this not just being seen as a trial of individuals, but also a trial of the institution, the institution of violence as it is being described here.
The correspondent added: After all, it was police brutality and their excessive use of force, that was one of the main reasons that sparked this revolution and gave momentum... to the protests during the uprising after the violence perpetrated by security forces against the protesters.
El-Adly is currently being detained at the Tora prison in Cairo, where many other former Mubarak regime figures are also being held, including Hosni Mubarak’s two sons.
El-Adly’s tiral has been adjourned until May.