Cairo: The chief judge in the criminal trial of Hosni Mubarak has summoned high-profile witnesses, including Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, to testify in court, a move which could bare the interim regime’s intentions on the fate of the ousted President.
The judge, Ahmed Refaat, set September 11 as the date for Tantawi to appear in the court, Pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabia reported. Refaat also summoned the Army’s Chief of Staff Sami Anan; Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s former intelligence chief who was also Vice President for a brief period, and Interior Minister Mansur al-Essawy.
Suleiman had disappeared from public view after mid-February when he made the televised announcement that Mubarak was surrendering power. But in an extraordinary step, the judge stipulated that the three key men in Egypt would testify under the strictest secrecy.
Not only did he order a closed session for their testimony, he also placed news organisations under strict constraints about what they could report.
The summoning of the military junta troika, the New York Times reported from Cairo, had sharpened doubts about whether the court is acting independently or cooperating with the ousted President’s former allies.
The paper said the trial had almost degenerated into a soap opera, opening with dramatic images of the former President lying on a gurney behind bars in the prisoner’s dock and then descending into a confusion of questionable testimony, an apparent reference to change of testimony by a police witness. (PTI)