Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has denied he ordered security forces to kill protesters, as he faced a Cairo court over the deaths of 850 demonstrators during Egypt’s 2011 uprising.
Mubarak told the court he never handed down orders to kill protesters.
“I, Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, who is standing before you today, never handed down orders for the killing of protesters. I never handed down orders for the killing of Egyptians,” he said in his first speech to the court.
“I exhausted my life fighting against enemies of the homeland. I would never hand down orders for the killing of a single Egyptian citizen under any circumstances. Or hand down orders to wreak chaos of which I had been warning. I would never hand down orders to cause anarchy or a political vacuum.”
Mubarak, his former interior minister Habib al-Adly and several other high-ranking officials are facing charges over the deaths.
The verdict is scheduled to be issued on September 27.
Adly, who has already taken the stand, told the court he made security decisions on the day to limit the number of protesters in Tahrir Square and still believed he was “100 percent correct”.
“It was a wise decision,” he told the court.
Mubarak came to power in 1981, taking over after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated.
In January 2011, embolded after seeing people in neighbouring Tunisia overthrow their long-time leader, tens of thousands of Egyptians took to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, calling for more jobs, democracy and the end of Mubarak’s rule.
Security forces and Mubarak’s supporters tried to crush the demonstrations. After 18 days of protests, more than 850 protesters were killed.
On February 11, 2011, his vice president, Omar Suleiman, announced Mubarak’s resignation.
A day later, prosecutors ordered Mubarak be placed under detention along with his two sons.
A lengthy trial for corruption and killing protesters during the uprising was held, and more than a year later, Mubarak was found guilty of failing to stop the killing of protesters and jailed for life.
However, the court threw out that conviction at the beginning of last year on technical grounds, and ordered a new trial.
Separately, another court sentenced Mubarak in May to three years for corruption. His sons received four-year terms. Al Jazeera