Egypt's Ex-president Mubarak Returns To Court

Defence lawyers say that any testimony by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on Mubarak’s role in trying to suppress the 18-day uprising, in which more than 800 people were killed, could decide the fate of the 83-year-old.

Tantawi, who was defence minister for two decades under Mubarak, heads the military council that took power when Mubarak was ousted on February 11 by the mass protests.

Mubarak, accused of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters, went on trial on August 3 in a case that has gripped the Arab world, where leaders rule for life and are seldom held to account.

The first Arab head of state to stand trial in person since popular uprisings swept the Middle East, the former air force commander faces charges that could carry the death penalty.

Hundreds of riot police stood guard outside the Cairo courthouse where the trial was to resume, cordoning it off on Monday morning after a crowd gathered to show their support for the deposed former president.

“He is Egyptian until death” and “Hosni Mubarak is not Saddam,” chanted the throng, referring to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein who was put on trial after a U.S.-led invasion and executed in 2006.

“I am opposed to him being inside a cage. Why can’t he sit on a chair? This is the law of Tahrir, not the rule of law,” said Fekry, a 47-year-old Mubarak supporter. Reuters