A police witness in the trial of Hosni Mubarak and his cohorts in Cairo has said that Egypt’s ex-Interior Minister, Habib Al-Adly, gave the orders to fire on demonstrators; he assumed that this was on the direct orders of the deposed president. Essam Shawki said that the police were armed by Al-Adly and told to disperse the demonstrators “by any means”. The minister, claimed Shawki, did not appear to be distressed by the news of demonstrators being killed in Suez.
When a CD provided by Shawki was played in court, confirming that the government’s forces fired on protesters deliberately, it was met with applause by victims’ families. The General Prosecutor hailed him for his “courage” in bringing this forward after previous police witnesses had retracted their evidence.
Mr Shawki went on to explain that a senior leadership meeting was held at the Ministry of the Interior which developed a plan to confront the demonstrations in any way and take “appropriate” action. Habib Al-Adly, he said, also ordered the disconnection of communication and mobile phone networks. The fear of the minister was, claims Shawki, that the January 28th demonstrations could “turn into a revolution”. Al-Adly asked the Attorney General to take possession of the central security recordings before their destruction.
A previous witness in the trial, Major-General Hussein Said Mursi, who was director of the Department of Telecommunications of the Central Security Forces, revealed details of radio communications between Generals Ahmed Ramzi, Ismail Alshae’r and Adly Fayed asking for the latter to send ‘”automatic weapons and ammunition to the central security forces”. The intention was to prevent demonstrators from storming the Ministry of the Interior on January 28, known as “the Friday of Anger”.