The defense began its case Tuesday in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who, according to the prosecution, is complicit in the killing of hundreds of protestors during last year's uprising against his regime.
Mubarak's chief defense lawyer, Farid el-Deeb's opening statement presented the contrary notion: Mubarak as a clean leader who respected the law above all and worked tirelessly for his country, The Associated Press reported. El-Deeb also attempted to portray the ousted president as a victim of malicious accusations.
I am defending a man who has served Egypt for more than 60 years, in his military and presidency roles, el-Deeb said. It's a history that has been filled with successes, accomplishments and also failures. There is no evidence to prove that Mubarak gave orders to fire on the protestors.
Chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said Mubarak was politically and legally responsible for the killing of the protestors, saying the former president did nothing to stop the killings he was aware of from meetings with aides, regional TV stations and reports by his security agencies.
Mubarak stands trial alongside his former interior minister, four of his aids and two sons. They have all denied the charges. An 18-day uprising forced Mubarak, 83, to step down on Feb. 11 after a nearly 30-year rule. The military, led by a general who served as a defense minister under Mubarak for 20 years, replaced him in power.
If convicted, Mubarak could face the death penalty.
Mubarak is neither a tyrant nor a bloodthirsty man. He respects the judiciary and its decisions. A clean man who could say no wrong, el-Deeb said. This man who stands in front of you is 83, fatigued by ailments after devoting his entire life to the service of his nation. He has been mauled by malicious talk. He has been targeted from all directions and his reputation has been hit by tongues and pens.
El-Deeb is also defending Alaa and Gamal.
Mubarak's health has been in question - he has been wheeled in on a stretcher for his court appearances - since his detention began in April; reports of cancer and heart problems have surfaced in the media. Still, that hasn't altered the prosecution's conviction that he be sentenced to death.
Retribution is the solution. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants, said Mustafa Khater, one of a five-member prosecution team. We feel the spirits of the martyrs flying over this hall of sacred justice and those who lost their sight by the bullets of the defendants are stumbling around it to reach the judge and demand fair retribution from those who attacked them. That nation and the people are awaiting a word of justice and righteousness.
The trial is adjourned until Wednesday, and is set to conclude on Feb. 16