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August 13, 2011

Judge Adjourns Trial of Egypt's Former Interior Minister

The trial resumed on Sunday for Egypt's former interior minister and six deputies accused of giving the orders that led to the killings of hundreds of protesters during this year's anti-government uprising.  However, the judge abruptly ended the session after encountering multiple demands from lawyers for the plaintiffs.

Former minister Habib al-Adly could face the death penalty if convicted of charges of ordering his security forces to shoot protesters in January and February. About 850 people were killed during the demonstrations that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

News agencies say lawyers for the plaintiffs jostled toward the judge's bench to present lists of demands during Sunday's session.  Reuters says the demands include allowing the lawyers to examine government phone logs and other records to discover who gave the orders to fire at protesters.

The judge adjourned the trial until September 5 after citing "commotion" in the courtroom.

Al-Adly has already received a 12-year prison sentence on a corruption conviction.

Meanwhile, the trial of former President Mubarak resumes on Monday. Earlier this month, he was wheeled into a Cairo courtroom in a hospital bed.  He pleaded not guilty to charges of ordering forces to open fire on protesters.

The former president, who is being tried along with his two sons, could face the death penalty.  He also faces charges of corruption and abuse of power.

Mr. Mubarak had been living under house arrest at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. His aides say he has been in poor health since leaving office.