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Egypt's ex-interior minister goes on trial

April 26, 2011 4:25 P.M. (Updated: April 27, 2011 4:57 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- Egyptian ex-interior minister Habib Al-Adly went on trial in Cairo Tuesday, accused of having ordered the shooting of demonstrators during protests that toppled the former regime, state media said.

Al-Adly has been charged along with six former aides, news agency MENA said.

He is accused of having ordered security forces to fire on demonstrators and is held responsible for insecurity that prevailed after police disappeared from the streets of Cairo in the early days of the protests.

According to an official toll, 846 people were killed and several thousand wounded during 18 days of massive nationwide street protests that forced president Hosni Mubarak to quit on February 11.

The much reviled Al-Adly was also the first member of Mubarak's regime to be put on trial in another case of embezzlement, in which he has pleaded not guilty.

The court was placed under high security, with truckloads of riot police and army tanks stationed outside the building, an AFP correspondent reported.

Around 50 people, including family members of slain protesters, staged a demonstration outside the court, shouting, "Death penalty for Adly! That dog must be immediately executed!"

The removal of Al-Adly from office was one of the chief demands of protesters when they launched the revolution against Mubarak's regime on January 25.

al-Adly, along with a German businessman and former finance minister Yussef Boutros-Ghali, is also accused of illegally profiteering from a deal to import new vehicle number plates which they allegedly bought directly without a public tender as required by law.

Two former Egyptian ministers, Sameh Fahmi and Mahmud Latif, are also to face trial accused of selling natural gas to Israel at below market prices, leading to a loss of revenue to the state of 714 million dollars.

Mubarak is in detention at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm Ash-Sheikh after suffering a heart attack during interrogation.

He is being investigated by prosecutors in connection with the violent suppression of the uprising as well as for allegations of corruption.

Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are in the Tora prison complex in the capital, and face similar charges.

The brothers are also accused of forcing businessmen to give them a cut in local partnerships with foreign companies.

The Tora prison complex, once home to political prisoners, now hosts a growing number of former regime officials, including Mubarak's former chief of staff Zakariah Azmy and his former party's leadership.

Nationwide anti-regime protests that erupted on January 25 ended Mubarak's 30-year reign of the Arab world's most populous country and saw power transferred to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which vowed to bring to justice all those found guilty of abuse.
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