- Middle East/North Africa
Presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq did not appear in court Monday to testify in the “Battle of the Camel” case, in which 24 former officials and businessmen stand trial for allegedly plotting the bloody attack in Tahrir Square last year.
Both Shafiq and ruling military council member Major General Hassan al-Roweiny, who had been scheduled to testify, did not attend the session presided over by Judge Mostafa Hassan Abdallah. Activist Mamdouh Hamza, however, did show up to give his testimony.
Assailants riding camels and horses attacked protests against former President Hosni Mubarak on 2 February last year, killing at least 11 people and injuring dozens. The attack became known as the Battle of the Camel.
Talk show host Tawfiq Okasha is also scheduled to appear before court during today’s session after not attending Sunday. His lawyer cited security fears and asked the court to ensure Okasha’s security before he attends.
During Sunday’s session, the Cairo Criminal Court heard testimony from Sayed Ali, a media host at Mehwar satellite channel and a managing editor of state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Ali said he did not have any evidence implicating the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political group, in the killing of protesters during the attack.
The suspects’ lawyers had recently accused the Brotherhood of killing protesters during the 18-day uprising that led to the toppling of Mubarak. The court on Saturday issued a subpoena for pro-Brotherhood Islamic preacher Safwat Hegazy and Brotherhood MP Mohamed al-Beltagy.
Ali said he watched developments in Tahrir on 2 and 3 February on TV.
“The regime, which had been bragging [about its] use of technology, is today fighting its sons with camels and horses,” Ali quoted himself as saying on his TV show after watching the attack.
Ali said he had a phone-in from Fouad Allam, former deputy chief of the now-dissolved State Security Investigation Services, who leveled a scathing attack against Mubarak-regime officials, accusing them of orchestrating the assault on protesters.
Allam in particular named Safwat al-Sherif, the former secretary general of the previously ruling National Democratic Party, as well as former party member Ibrahim Kamel.
He said his crew failed to reach Sherif for comment but managed to contact Kamel, who denied Allam’s accusations and said that during the attack, he was in Mostafa Mahmoud Square, a gathering venue for Mubarak supporters.
The court ordered the prosecution to provide copies of the ruling issued in Mubarak’s recent trial, as well as former Vice President Omar Suleiman’s testimony. It also requested devices to screen CDs that had been submitted by the defense during Saturday’s session.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm