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Prosecutors begin their case in Hosni Mubarak's trial

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN
updated 11:51 AM EST, Tue January 3, 2012
Former president Hosni Mubarak lies on a stretcher as he leaves court in Cairo on January 2.
Former president Hosni Mubarak lies on a stretcher as he leaves court in Cairo on January 2.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Mubarak was a tyrant who intended to hand the country to his son, the prosecution says
  • Mubarak could learn his fate before the end of the month, a lawyer says
  • Mubarak is charged with ordering the killing of protesters
  • Many Egyptians are critical of the court proceedings and worry he may be acquitted

Cairo (CNN) -- Prosecutors began presenting their case Tuesday in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is accused of ordering protesters killed during the country's uprising last year.

Khaled Abu Bakr, a civil rights lawyer involved in the trial, said prosecutor Mustapha Suleiman delivered the opening arguments.

"Mubarak is a tyrant who aimed to hand the rule to his younger son Gamal, who promoted corruption in Egypt, allowing his friends and relatives to destroy the country without accountability," Suleiman told the court, according to Abu Bakr.

"Mubarak's wife Suzanne was discreetly running the country and treated senior government officials in a humiliating, aggressive manner in order to keep a stronghold on the decision-making," Suleiman said.

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As during his previous appearances, Mubarak was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher, with a green blanket draped over him.

After hearing Suleiman speak for an hour, the judge adjourned the court until Wednesday, when the prosecution will continue presenting its case.

Abu Bakr told CNN he expected a verdict "before January 25, the anniversary of the revolution."

He was referring to the beginning of the uprising that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule in February 2011.

Adel Saeed, an official spokesman for the general prosecutor's office, confirmed that there is "a possibility" of a verdict by January 25, depending on how long prosecutors and lawyers for the victims and the defense take to present their cases, plus the time the judge needs "to review all the documents and evidence presented."

Abu Bakr said prosecutors will take three days to make their case.

The former president also faces corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Many Egyptians are critical of the court proceedings and some worry that Mubarak may be acquitted of the murder charges. Five police officers accused of killing protesters were acquitted last week.

The killings in question took place in front of a police station near downtown Cairo January 28 and 29.

"Most people panicking after the verdict do not know that two families of the victims involved in this case have withdrawn the charges against the officers," Abu Bakr said. "Their case was considered self-defense because the officers were defending their police station, which is different than the cases of those protesters killed by snipers from a distance in Tahrir (Square)" -- the center of the protests against Mubarak.

Mubarak's health has been in question since his detention began in April after reports of his cancer and heart problems surfaced in the media.

Hauled away from the courthouse on his hospital gurney, Mubarak hid his face and covered his eyes from TV cameras.

Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El Adly, six of his aides and two of Mubarak's sons are also on trial on a variety of charges.

Sons Gamal and Alaa, who also were present in the courtroom's cage, have also pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to resume "almost daily" starting this week, as announced by the judge handling the case during its previous session.

About 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the 18 days of uprising that toppled Mubarak, according to Amnesty International.

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