‘Camel Battle’ trial begins in absence of reporters

On Sunday the trial of 25 former regime figures charged with assaulting protesters on 2 February, in what came to be known as the "Camel Battle", commenced.

Reporters and lawyers reacted angrily to being told they were not authorized to enter the courtroom without permits. Several lawyers who had been given authorization to enter – including the laywer for former Shura Council Speaker Safwat al-Sherif – were unable to after the courtroom was closed.

The judge ordered the room be locked from inside.

The small size of the courtroom led to conflict between lawyers and security, and several lawyers intend to request that the trial be moved to a larger courtroom that can accommodate all attendees.

Among those to be tried are Sherif, the prime suspect in the case; Fathi Sorour, the former parliamentary speaker; and businessman Ibrahim Kamel.

According to investigations, Sherif, who is also the former secretary general of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), planned pro-Mubarak marches, the participants of which assaulted anti-regime protesters, during the 25 January revolution.

Investigations also found that Sherif contacted former NDP MPs to request that protesters be dispersed by force even if this meant they would be killed.

Former Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hady, former MP Mortada Mansour, and former MP and businessman Mohamed Abul Einein also arrived for the first trial session.

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