Court adjourns Battle of the Camel trial to 9 June

The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the so-called "Battle of the Camel" case on Thursday until 9 June to give the prosecution time to present its argument.

The trial involves 24 former National Democratic Party leaders and businessmen accused of inciting the killing of protesters in Tahrir Square on 2 and 3 February 2011.

During the trial session Thursday in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement, the judges reviewed 11 videos and audio recordings submitted by defense lawyers.

In one recording, defendants and former Parliament speakers Safwat al-Sherif and Ahmed Fathi Sorour stressed the need for calm and to deal with protests to maintain national security following an NDP meeting on 27 January 2011.

Sherif commented on the recordings, saying, “The testimony of the prosecution’s eyewitnesses has no proof. I am not an evil man, but a politician.”

Sorour appeared to become agitated after he listened to the evidence against him and the court ordered him to be taken out of the holding dock. He responded by reciting verses of the Quran and submitted a portfolio of documents that included a copy of the International Declaration on Democracy that he issued under Mubarak's tenure. He also said he participated in drafting the fourth and the fifth sections of the 1971 Constitution on civil liberties and rights.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the court had listened to eyewitness testimony for defendant police officer Hossam Eddin Mostafa, who said he was at home at the time of the incident.

The Battle of the Camel took place at the height of the protests that led to the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. Pro-Mubarak forces stormed Tahrir Square on camel and horseback last year, killing nearly 14 protesters and injuring more than 2,000.

Among the other defendants are former Manpower and Immigration Minister Aisha Abdel Hady and former Egyptian Trade Union Federation President Hussein Megawer.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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