Read what Tantawi is alleged to have said at Mubarak's trial

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 27, 2011 

The following transcript appeared on Egyptian social media sites, which claimed it was testimony by Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, at the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak on charges Mubarak ordered the killing of protesters seeking an end to his rule. The questions were asked by Judge Ahmad Refaat, who had banned coverage of the testimony. There was no official confirmation or denial of the legitimacy of the transcript. McClatchy special correspondent Mohannad Sabry translated.

Q: There was a meeting held on January 22, was the former president informed of what was discussed in the meeting and how it ended?

A: The meeting was headed by the prime minister and I think that he informed the former president.

Q: When the events started on January 25 and until February 11, was there any meeting held between you and the former President Hosni Mubarak?

A: No direct meetings, but on January 28 when we received orders from the president there was communication between us.

Q: What did the president convey during such meetings?

A: Meetings between us were held to know that stance of the armed forces, especially on January 28 when the military was ordered to go down and support the police in fulfilling its duties. There was former planning by the military and this is a drill conducted by the military in case we need to go down with the police. The military goes down to the streets when the police need its help and when they cannot fulfill their duties and when the president orders the head of the military to take such action. The president gave the orders to the head of the military for the forces to go down and protect the important facilities and this is what happened.

Q: Did the former president, defendant Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, give any orders to the Interior Minister Habib el Adly for the police to use force against protesters including the use of birdshot guns and fire arms between January 25 and 28?

A: I have no information about that and I don’t think so.

Q: Did the former president leave the assessment of ways to deal with the situation to the listed defendants?

A: I have no information.

Q: Did you receive reports or know of how the police force operates?

A: This is a police training matter and it concerns them, but I know that dispersing protesters happens without the use of fire.

Q: Did the specialized military department detect the presence of snipers used by the police force during the events?

A: I have no information.

Q: Reports showed several injuries and deaths among protesters who were shot with birdshot bullets that caused injuries and deaths. Did you receive such information and how do you explain it?

A: I don’t have such information. There are several possibilities but I have no information.

Q: Are the police forces solely responsible for the deaths and injuries of protesters?

A: I don’t know what happened.

Q: Can you specify if other elements were involved?

A: It is unconfirmed information but I think that other elements were involved.

Q: What are those elements?

A: It could be criminal elements.

Q: Did you receive any information about the involvement of foreign elements?

A: I don’t have information but it is a possibility.

Q: Generally speaking, does the president take action to keep the safety and security of the nation by issuing orders regarding how to operate?

A: The president could issue orders, of course, it’s his right, but everything is decided in advance and everyone knows their duties.

Q: Who does the president order, in general?

A: The one who executes the orders is known but it is possible that the president gives orders.

Q: Should the recipient of such orders execute them no matter what the consequences are?

A: Of course there is a discussion and if the orders are critical they should discuss it.

Q: Is the former president, defendant Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, considered directly or solely responsible with whoever executed the orders by him regarding dealing with protesters?

A: If he gave the orders to use fire then I think that the responsibility is shared, and I don’t know if he gave such orders or not.

Q: Do you know if the former president knew through his sources that protesters were killed?

A: His aides who briefed him should be questioned about whether he knew or not.

Q: Do you know if the former president was involved in any way to stop the bleeding of the injured?

A: I think he did get involved and gave orders to start an investigation of what happened and the killings and he asked for a report.

Q: Can you firmly specify how responsible the former president is for the events that led to the injuring and killing of protesters?

A: This is the responsibility of the investigative departments.

Q: According to your experience, could the interior minister solely decide what measures and procedures and plans should be taken to face protests without informing the president?

A: Deciding procedures is planned in advance and known to everyone in the interior ministry, but in all cases he should inform the president of everything regarding the protests. dispersing protests is a normal plan and drill in the interior ministry.

Q: According to what you know, did Habib el Adly decide on his own or with the help of other defendants the measures used to confront the protests that led to injuries and deaths?

A: I don’t know about that.

Q: Suggesting that you knew of what happened in the January 28 protests including the use of live ammunition and using vehicles to run over protesters, do you think the orders of such use of force was taken only by Habib el Adly and his aides?

A: I cannot specify what happened but it is possible that he took such decisions and I don’t know who did and who is responsible for it.

Q: Could you confirm, in a way that leaves no chance for doubt, that the former president does not know anything or have information about the way the police dealt with protesters and that he did not give orders to the first defendant (Habib el Adly) regarding the measures of operating and that he is the delegate to keep the safety of Egypt?

A: I don’t know what happened but I think that the interior minister reports and it is possible that he does not know but I don’t know.

Q: Are there any injuries or deaths among army officers?

A: Yes, there are martyrs.

Q: Did the interior minister cooperate with the armed forces to secure the protests?

A: No.

Q: Were you informed of any lost military ammunition?

A: Nothing was lost but there are some losses and damage to equipment and there is no problem.

Q: Were you informed of the entrance of members of Hamas and Hezbollah through tunnels or other ways to cause instability?

A: This has not happened during the protests and we are resisting such things and when we find out something we destroy it, if anyone is referred to court it has not happened during the protests.

Q: Were any foreign elements arrested in Tahrir Square and referred to the military prosecution?

A: No, no one was detained.

Q: During the meeting that took place on January 20, was a decision to cut off communication taken?

A: This did not happen.

Q: Some Generals said we were asked to disperse protests using force. Were the armed forces asked to do that?

A: I said in the graduation ceremony of the police academy that I am telling the history that any member of the armed forces will not use fire against the people.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service