Mubarak's ‘conscience is clear’ in final murder trial hearing
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Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak delivered a passionate defence of his 30-year rule of the country on Wednesday at a final court hearing before judges deliver their verdict in the deposed leader’s murder trial.
Mubarak, 86, was found guilty of complicity in the deaths of demonstrators and the breakdown of law and order during 2011’s 18-day revolt that ended his presidency, but an appeals court subsequently ordered a retrial.
Judges said Wednesday they would deliver their verdict in the retrial on September 27.
In rare testimony before the Cairo court, Mubarak, currently serving a separate three-year sentence for embezzlement, said he had a clear conscience over his actions as president.
"I swear to God that every decision or policy I pursued was meant for the good of the nation and the people of my nation, those who supported me and those who didn’t,” he said in a testimony beamed live into millions of homes across Egypt.
“If the end of my time nears, my conscience is at rest. I spent my life defending Egypt and its interests and its people in war and peace.”
‘I have never played with the lives of Egyptians’
The former air force officer also defended the role of Egypt’s armed forces during his leadership, saying the army had helped protect the country from threats from abroad and terrorists at home.
He insisted troops were not trained or deployed to kill demonstrators during 2011’s protests.
“I developed our armed forces and provided them with arms and training so that they could defend our country, our people and peace. I have never played irresponsibly with the lives of Egyptians,” he said.
Mubarak’s ouster was followed by the election of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, himself deposed by then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2012.
Since Sisi’s takeover, Egypt has declared Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist” group. Sisi, who won a presidential election in May, has vowed that the group will cease to exist under his rule.
Hundreds of Islamists have been killed and thousands have been arrested in the past year, many of them sentenced to death in mass trials that have drawn condemnation from Western governments and human rights groups.
Mubarak claimed the election of Morsi only led to further violence and unrest.
"I have warned against mixing religion and politics, and against taking steps backwards, such as in 2012," he said.
Mubarak, along with seven other former top ranking officials from his regime, faces life in prison if found guilty on murder charges.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)