- - Monday, August 15, 2011

CAIRO — The judge presiding over the corruption and murder trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak stopped the live broadcast of the proceedings after lawyers jostled and fought each other in order to be seen on television.

Judge Ahmed Rifaat ordered that television cameras no longer would be allowed inside the courtroom and adjourned the trial until Sept. 5.

Monday’s hearing marked the second court appearance of Mr. Mubarak, who again was wheeled in a hospital gurney into the courtroom’s cage for defendants. His first hearing was Aug. 5.

The deposed president, who reportedly has cancer, is charged with public corruption and being complicit in the deaths of protesters who toppled him in February.

Judge Rifaat left unresolved the issue of whether Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will testify at the trial. The field marshal essentially has been the country’s leader since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster.

Mr. Mubarak’s attorney, Fareed al Deeb, has requested that Field Marshal Tantawi testify about what happened during the 18-day rebellion during which more than 800 anti-government demonstrators were killed.

On Monday, Judge Rifaat announced that the criminal cases against Mr. Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly would be tried together. Mr. al-Adly oversaw the country’s security forces, which were widely known for detaining and torturing opponents.

Mr. al-Adly, along with six high-ranking police officials, appeared in court Monday on charges of ordering the killing of protesters.

Outside the courthouse, pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, clashed before being separated by riot police.

Though Mr. Mubarak’s trial has been adjourned, the military trials of Egyptians arrested since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster continue.

About 12,000 people have been arrested by the Egyptian military since February, and some have been tried in military courts and are serving multiyear sentences.

“The army moved and started cracking down violently, beating us, arresting people randomly,” said Magid Butter, describing a July 22 demonstration in Alexandria that resulted in the arrests of 14 protesters.

On Monday, Mr. Butter waited outside the military courthouse in Alexandria for news about the incarcerated. “The sentencings in Alexandria were adjourned until Aug. 22,” he said.

Egyptians reacted with little surprise to the ban on television cameras inside the courtroom, as most were shocked nearly two weeks ago just seeing Mr. Mubarak on trial.

Mr. Mubarak, who ruled Egypt unchallenged for 29 years, could face the death penalty if convicted of complicity in the killing of the protesters.

Mr. Mubarak is the first Arab leader in modern times to be put on trial by his own people, a feat that many see as a warning to authoritarian Arab leaders. Saddam Hussein was tried and hanged after his 2003 ouster, but the proceedings were supervised by U.S. officials.

“This is a historic event regardless of whether the trial will be shown live on television or not,” said defense attorney Khaled Abu Bakr, who represents a wounded protester.

*This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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