Egyptian Officer Says Police Used Weapons to Kill Protesters

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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An Egyptian security officer has testified that police and security forces used their weapons to wound and kill protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The state-run MENA news agency says Interior Ministry officer Isam Husni Abbas made the comments on Thursday during the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak. He told the court many people were killed or injured as officers used weapons to keep protesters from storming police stations.

He said about 59 police stations were destroyed during the protests that led to Mr. Mubarak's resignation in February.

Prosecutors say Mr. Mubarak ordered the killing of 850 protesters during the uprising that begin in late Janaury. He has pleaded not guilty to charges. He is also accused of corruption and abuse of power.

Also Thursday, activists and relatives of victims reacted positively to news that a judge had ordered Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to testify in a closed session on Sunday.

The judge has summoned Tantawi, who heads the ruling military council, and several other high-ranking officials to testify next week. The officials include former Vice President Omar Suleiman and Lieutenant General Sami Enan.

Tantawi served as Mr. Mubarak's intelligence chief. Earlier this month, the former president's lawyers requested that Tantawi testify. They argued that he effectively “took control” of the country after January 28, when troops were deployed to Cairo to disperse anti-government protesters.

Mr. Mubarak has entered the Cairo courtroom on a stretcher and listened to the court proceedings while lying on a bed inside the court's large metal cage. He is being tried along with former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six deputies.