Mubarak, aides ordered killing: Egypt prosecution
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 05, 2012, 00:26
  
Cairo: The prosecution in the Hosni Mubarak trial says it has concluded that Egypt's ousted president, his security chief and six top police officers were the "actual instigators" of the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's popular uprising that brought down his regime.

Mubarak and his seven co-defendants are facing charges of complicity in the killings and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said in today's hearing the defendants clearly authorised the use of live ammunition and a shoot-to-kill policy against peaceful protesters.

Suleiman said the prosecution had to launch its own probe, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, physicians and police officers to build its case, after security authorities ignored their requests for help in the inquiry.

On the other hand, a small group of civil society activists and members of minority communities organised a vigil at the Liberty Chowk in Lahore to pay tribute to Taseer on his first death anniversary.

"I came here to raise my voice against growing extremism in the country," Ayesha Gohar, a rights activist, told PTI at the vigil.

She said Taseer was a "brave man from a cowardly party" which did not organise even a single event to remember him.

"We know that people here are afraid of radical maulvis (clerics) but we want to tell the world through the media that there are still people whose are against religious extremism and we will continue our fight against the controversial blasphemy law," Gohar said.

Only a few old companions of Taseer visited his grave while neither his successor, Governor Latif Khosa, nor the ruling Pakistan People's Party organized any event to commemorate the man who often spoke for the rights of religious minorities.

Taseer, an outspoken campaigner for changes in Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed by Qadri as he left a restaurant in Islamabad on January 4 last year. Qadri was part of Taseer's security detail.

About 40 religious and extremist groups, including the Sunni Tehrik and Jamaat-ud-Dawah, have been pressing the government to release Qadri and to remove the judge who sentenced him to death.

The clerics have described the verdict as "un-Islamic". The anti-terrorism court judge who gave the death sentence to Qadri later fled Pakistan after receiving death threats.

The anti-terrorism court's verdict was subsequently stayed by the Islamabad High Court till it decided Qadri's appeal against the verdict.

Religious parties have been organising rallies across Pakistan under the banner of the Tehrik Namoos-e-Risalat to pressure the government to free Qadri, who was allowed to serve in a special police unit that protected VIPs even after officials had been alerted about his extremist leanings.

Pakistani police are also looking at the possibility that Shahbaz Taseer, the son of Salmaan Taseer, may have been abducted in August last year by Qadri's supporters in a bid to free him.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said Taseer is alive and being held near the border with Afghanistan.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, January 05, 2012, 00:26


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