Mubarak's Defense Lawyer Praises Egypt's Ex-leader

Published January 17, 2012 11:00AM (EST)

CAIRO (AP) — Hosni Mubarak's chief defense lawyer on Tuesday portrayed the ousted Egyptian president as a "clean" leader who placed the law above all else and worked tirelessly for his nation.

Farid el-Deeb's opening statements to the court also sought to paint a picture of the 83-year-old Mubarak as a victim of malicious accusations while his health was failing. He was looking to the court for justice, el-Deeb said.

Mubarak is charged with complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during an 18-day uprising that toppled his 29-year, authoritarian regime last February.

Lawyers for families of those killed and wounded have argued that even if Mubarak did not issue orders to shoot protesters, he failed to give orders to stop the killing.

Mubarak and his two sons — wealthy businessman Alaa and his one-time heir apparent Gamal — also face corruption charges. All three were in court Tuesday. Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted.

Judge Ahmed Rifaat has given the Mubaraks' defense lawyers five sessions in court to state their case.

"Mubarak is neither a tyrant or a bloodthirsty man. He respects the judiciary and its decisions. A clean man who could say no wrong," said el-Deeb, who has built up a reputation over the years as a highly paid celebrity lawyer.

"This man who stands in front of you is 83, fatigued by ailments after devoting his entire life to the service of his nation. He has been mauled by malicious talk. He has been targeted from all directions and his reputation has been hit by tongues and pens," said el-Deeb, who is also defending Alaa and Gamal.

The three have eight co-defendants, including Mubarak's former security chief Habib el-Adly and six top police commanders. El-Adly and four of the six commanders are charged with complicity in the killing of the protesters. A friend of the Mubarak family's, fugitive Hussein Salem, is also facing corruption charges.

By Salon Staff

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