Mubarak no tyrant, a clean man: defense

Mubarak no tyrant, a clean man: defense

Mubarak no tyrant, a clean man: defense

A TV channel image shows Mubarak being wheeled on a hospital stretcher into court.

Hosni Mubarak’s chief defense lawyer yesterday 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. He 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 nor 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 targeted from all directions and his reputation has been hit by tongues and pens,” said el-Deeb.

Islamist set for speaker

Meanwhile, leading Egyptian political parties will back a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) for the assembly’s speaker, with another Islamist group and a liberal party taking the deputy posts, an FJP official said Jan. 16. The prime task of the new parliament, the first elected since an uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power last year, will be to pick a 100-strong assembly to write a new constitution. Liberals fear that sweeping gains by Islamists in elections will put faith-based parties in the driving seat and lead to more religious strictures. Islamists insist they want an inclusive government and a constitution that represents all Egyptians.

Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.