Cairo: A lawyer for former Egyptian former president Hosni Mubarak, on trial for protester deaths and corruption, Saturday rejected an offer from Kuwaiti lawyers to join the defence team for the toppled leader.
At the beginning of his retrial in a makeshift courtroom at the Police Academy near Cairo, the presiding judge Mahmoud Al Rashidi asked Mubarak if he would accept the offer from the Kuwaiti lawyers.
Mubarak, who was sitting on a hospital bed in the dock as his two sons stood nearby, told the court he delegated his main lawyer Farid Al Deeb to make a decision. “I reject the offer and thank them,” said Al Deeb, referring to the Kuwaiti lawyers who were not inside the courtroom.
Lawyers, meanwhile, objected to any possibility of permitting the Kuwaiti lawyers to attend the hearings, saying Egyptian lawyers are not allowed to be present at Kuwaiti courts.
Mubarak, wearing eyeglasses and a tracksuit, appeared calm and alert as the chief judge was announcing procedures for the high-profile trial.
Mubarak, his interior minister Habib Al Adly and six ex-police chiefs are charged with involvement in killing more than 840 protesters and injuring at least 6,000 during a 2011 uprising.
Mubarak, 85, and his two sons are accused of corruption. All the defendants pleaded not guilty on Saturday.
A representative of prosecution told the court they had collected new evidence from a fact-finding commission set up by President Mohammad Mursi earlier this year to investigate cases related to protester killings during the anti-Mubarak revolt.
The chief judge, who took over the case after a colleague recused himself almost a month ago, said in opening remarks that he has no political agenda. “We have no political links and are hearing the case away from politics,” said Al Rashidi.
“I have spent around 40 years on the bench and I am on the verge of death,” he added apparently seeking to dispel alleged bias.