‘Battle of the Camel’ trial resumes today

The “Battle of the Camel” court case, in which 25 individuals affiliated with the Mubarak regime are accused of attacking and killing protesters on 2 and 3 February during the 18-day uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, is set to resume today.

At the trial's fifth hearing, held on Saturday, witnesses gave conflicting accounts about former People's Assembly Speaker Fathi Sorour’s involvement in choreographing a horse- and camel-led attack on anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square.

The court listened to the testimony of Mohamed al-Sayed, a journalist who spoke of a meeting with Sorour on 2 February. During the meeting, Sorour’s office manager Yousry al-Sheikh told him about pro-Mubarak protesters coming from Sayeda Zeinab, Sorour’s long-time electoral district, as well as 1000 horses and carriages heading to Tahrir from the Nazlit al-Siman neighborhood. Sorour’s manager allegedly suggested he greet the protesters from the front of the building. Sorour then responded that he would after the meeting, but it remains unclear as to whether or not he did.

Sayed’s account was disputed by another witness, Hossam Sadaqa, also a journalist, who testified that at a meeting with Sorour on 6 February, Sorour told Sayed to make sure his reporting on the meeting was accurate, because he had made mistakes reporting in the past. Sadaqa added in court that no protesters could be heard from Sorour’s office.

At the hearing, the lawyers of the civil claimants demanded that more witnesses be called to the stand, including the short-lived head of the now-defunct National Democratic Party, Hossam Badrawy, and journalist Mostafa Bakry.

A defense lawyer also demanded that former Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy, the last minister of interior appointed during Mubarak’s tenure, and ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman be added to the list of defendants.

On the defendants’ side, a lawyer demanded to review the testimonies given by Wagdy and Suleiman, as well as Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in the trial in which Mubarak and others are accused of killing protesters during the uprising. According to the lawyers, these testimonies are relevant to the Battle of the Camel case and hold information about foreign saboteurs responsible for protesters' deaths.

Among those tried in that case are former Shura Council Speaker Safwat al-Sherif, former MP Mortada Mansour, businessman and former leading NDP member Ibrahim Kamel, former Manpower and Immigration Minister Aisha Abdel Hady, and former MP and businessman Mohamed Abul Einein.

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