Cairo: A Cairo court decided Monday to combine the trials of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his former interior minister on charges they ordered the killings of protesters during Egypt`s uprising.
The trial for Mubarak, his former security chief Habib el-Adly, and six aides will start Aug. 3, the court ruled during a chaotic hearing where lawyers and relatives of victims pushed and shouted in the courtroom. At one point, the judge threatened to throw everyone out of the courtroom.
The chief judge, Abdel-Salam Gomaa, also decided to fold the corruption case against Mubarak and his two sons into the same trial. Mubarak`s sons, one-time heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, have been in a Cairo prison since April.
Nearly 850 people were killed during the Jan. 25-Feb. 11 uprising that ousted Mubarak.
Bringing those responsible for the killings of protesters to justice has become a key demand of activists, who have recently stepped up demonstrations once again. They accuse the ruling military council that took power from Mubarak of stalling over the trials.
Several hundred hard-core protesters have camped out at Cairo`s central Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution, since July 8 to press their demands for quicker change and justice. The ruling generals have responded with new concessions to the protesters that coincide with the progress toward Mubarak`s trial.
Monday`s hearing was broadcast live by state television, allowing millions of Egyptians to see el-Adly, wearing a blue prison uniform, and his co-defendants in detention for the first time.
If convicted on the charges related to protester deaths, Mubarak, 83, el-Adly and the six aides could face the death penalty.
Mubarak has been under arrest in a hospital at a Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April. There has been no official announcement on where Mubarak`s trial will be held, but local media reports say a court in Sharm el-Sheikh has been readied for the trial.
Mubarak was admitted to hospital at the time of his arrest with heart problems. His lawyer has made a series of claims about his failing health that have been immediately denied by doctors on Mubarak`s team and at his hospital, who say his condition is stable.
Mubarak last year underwent surgery in Germany to remove his gallbladder and part of his pancreas.
El-Adly already is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. He was in charge of Egypt`s 500,000-strong police force, some of whom are blamed for the worst human rights abuses during Mubarak`s 29-year-rule.
Businessman Hussein Salem, a Mubarak confidant, will be tried in the same case on charges of corruption. Salem is at large in Spain, where authorities are looking into an Egyptian request for his extradition. Salem is thought to have used his friendship with Mubarak to make illegal gains, mostly buying state land and at vastly lower prices than their market value and to win lucrative government contracts not awarded by tender.