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Kuwait lawyer wants to defend Egypt's Tantawi

Right to defence enshrined in local and international constitutions: Al Utaibi

Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
Mohammad Hussain Tantawi
Gulf News

Manama: A Kuwaiti lawyer who waded into controversy after seeking to defend former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has said that he was ready to take up the cases of Field Marshal Hussain Tantawi, former head of Egypt’s army, and Sami Anan, his deputy general.

“I am fully convinced that they are innocent,” Faisal Al Utaibi said in Kuwait City. “This conviction has prompted me to volunteer for their defence. It would be an honour to refute all the accusations against them, particularly that they have had significant roles and honourable stances in Egypt. They deserve to be defended against the popular wrath,” he was quoted as saying in local Arabic daily Al Watan.

Egypt’s Attorney General Abdul Majeed Mahmoud has this week forwarded 30 complaints filed against the former senior military figures for allegedly suppressing last year’s uprising and illegally acquiring building plots near Cairo.

However, Al Utaibi said that the general premise is that an accused is presumably innocent until he is convicted.

“No sentence has been meted out against either man and both of them have the right to a defence team. The revolution in Egypt was not made to bury democracy or trample human rights, but rather to guarantee fair trials as stipulated in local and international constitutions,” he said.

The lawyer said that he was ready to travel to Egypt to defend the two men as soon as the move was approved.

Al Utaibi last year said that he wanted to defend Mubarak and his family as “an expression of gratitude to Mubarak for his position during the brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and for his gracious hosting of the Kuwaiti people during the occupation.”

In a press release issued in Kuwait City, he said that he was “convinced that Mubarak and his family are innocent.”

“That is why I see it as an honour to defend him before a court of law. President Mubarak has had a significant role and honourable stances with all Arab countries. As an Egyptian citizen, he has the right to be defended from popular anger because we must remember that he led the aerial strikes in 1973,” Al Otaibi said, referring to the last Egypt-Israeli war.

An Egyptian court in June sentenced Mubarak to life in prison on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters in early 2011.