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Prosecution: Mubarak gave shoot-to-kill order during Egypt uprising

Mohammed Al-Law / AP

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is wheeled into a van after attending a trial in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday.

The prosecution in the Hosni Mubarak trial said on Wednesday it has concluded that Egypt's ousted president, his security chief and six top police officers were the "actual instigators" of the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's popular uprising that brought down his regime.

Mubarak and his seven co-defendants are facing charges of complicity in the killings and could face the death penalty if convicted.


Wednesday's hearing coincided with the second day of voting in the third and final round of parliamentary elections that began on Nov. 28.

Even before the final round, Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political group, were assured of a majority in the new legislature. Final results were due to be announced Jan. 13.

The Mubarak trial brings out conflicting visions. Reformers and the victims' families clamor for a full measure of justice, while many others want the turbulence to end so that Egypt's battered economy can move toward stability.

On Wednesday, chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said the defendants clearly authorized the use of live ammunition and a shoot-to-kill policy against peaceful protesters.

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

After 18 days of public protests, Hosni Mubarak resigns as Egypt's president and hands over power to the military.

He also complained that the prosecution had to launch its own probe after security authorities ignored the prosecution's requests for help in the inquiry. Prosecutors interviewed hundreds of witnesses, physicians and police officers to build their case.

Fire trucks run over protesters
Suleiman said the decision to use live ammunition was made on Jan. 27 last year, just before the most violent day of the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.

Dubbed the "Friday of Rage," Jan. 28 also saw the deployment of army troops in Cairo and across much of the nation, as well as the yet to be explained disappearance of security forces.

The prosecution also showed video of the violence taken by TV stations. They showed police officers loading up their weapons with live ammunition and police and fire engine trucks chasing protesters and running them over.

One video showed a police officer perched on top of a police car and killing a protester with a gunshot to the head.

"The defendants before you in the cage are the actual instigators and are the ones who gave police officers the order to shoot," said Suleiman. He also said that the prosecution has evidence that the regime used "thugs" against the protesters.

"The protesters were peaceful, and it was the police that started firing on them," he said.

He said the Interior Minister and the country's intelligence agency ignored the prosecution's requests for information on the circumstances surrounding the killings.

"They deliberately sought to mislead justice," he said, noting that the widespread disarray in the state at the time of the probe or the wish to protect their own may have been behind the lack of cooperation.

The voting Wednesday was the final stage of the lower-house election, the first free legislative vote since army officers overthrew the monarchy in 1952.

The staggered election is part of the military's plan to hand power to civilians before July, ending its turbulent interregnum that began with the overthrow of Mubarak.

Welcomed then as heroes who helped nudge the autocratic leader from office, the generals now face anger over their handling of protests that have left 59 dead since mid-November and an economic crisis that is worsening the plight of the poor.

Coalition with liberals?
Meanwhile, the Brotherhood has surfed a wave of hostility to long-time foe Mubarak, boosting its own reputation. For millions of poor Egyptians, its record of charitable work in areas ignored by his government suggests it would care for their needs if it won power.

In the working class suburb of Shubra al-Khaima on the northern limits of Cairo, citizens queued to vote in pot-holed streets littered with rubbish.

"I've voted for the Muslim Brotherhood. They have experience in running politics and I am convinced they will start implementing serious reforms," said pensioner Fawzi Mohamed.

The more hardline Islamist al-Nour Party has come second in the voting so far but some analysts believe the Brotherhood may seek to build a coalition with liberal groups. That could ease concerns at home and in the West about the rise of the Islamists in a country whose economy is propped up by tourism.

"The party's winning of the majority in the new parliament does not mean going it alone in writing the constitution without consideration for the rights of other Egyptians, or ignoring the political forces which did not get a majority or failed in the parliamentary elections," said FJP head Mohamed Mursi.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.