CAIRO: Clashes erupted between security and the families of those killed and injured during the Jan. 25 Revolution outside the courthouse on Sunday as the trial of the former interior minister was adjourned.
Former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly and six other former senior officials are charged with ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
An official fact-finding mission said 846 were killed and over 6,000 injured. Mubarak is to stand trial on Aug. 3 on charges of ordering the killing of protesters.
The families of the martyrs first clashed with security outside the courthouse after they were not allowed in. Clashes escalated to rock throwing when the families and protesters got news that the trial was adjourned to July 25.
The crowd outside the courthouse in New Cairo hurled stones at the armored vehicles believed to be carrying the defendants. A number of security officers were mildly injured in the process. Several windows and windshields of police cars were smashed.
Defense lawyers have asked for changes in the judicial panel looking into the case. A decision will be made on June 30 with the trial set to resume on July 25.
According to Mohamed Safi El-Din, lawyer representing one of the families, the hearing was over in no more than three minutes.
Safi El-Din, however, described the sight of El-Adly, hated for oppressive practices during his reign, in an inmate uniform as “priceless.” El-Adly received a 12-year prison sentence last month after he was found guilty of money laundering.
Families of martyrs have complained of the slow pace of the trials of the officials they see responsible for killing protesters. A May 21 hearing was also postponed after a courtroom scuffle broke out.
The protesters were enraged by the fact that they were not allowed inside the courtroom and accused authorities of covertly allowing specific parties inside but not families of martyrs who have the right to be there, said activist Nazly Hussein. They chanted outside the courtroom calling security forces “thugs.”
"The people want the execution of the killer," protesters chanted outside the criminal court in the Cairo suburb.
"From Aswan to Alexandria, we will hold the interior ministry to account," the protesters chanted, while some threw stones. Military police were also at the scene.
As their numbers increased, Central Security Forces formed barricades around the building to keep protesters at least 50 meters away.
“We demand justice before our brothers’ bodies are cold!” said an emotional Hesham Abdullah, 22, a relative of one of the martyrs.
After army intervention, the protesters dispersed. –Additional reporting by Agencies