In court, Egypt's ousted Mubarak defends his rule

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In court, Egypt's ousted Mubarak defends his rule
FILE-- In this Saturday, April 26, 2014 file photo, ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak attends a hearing in his retrial over charges of failing to stop killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his downfall, in the Police Academy-turned-court in the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014 an Egyptian court has convicted ousted President Hosni Mubarak of embezzlement and sentenced him to three years in prison. Mubarak's two sons, one-time heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were also convicted of graft and sentenced to four years in prison each. (AP Photo/Tarek el Gabbas, File)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 86, greets medics, army personnel and his supporters, as he leaves a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following his verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. An Egyptian court on Saturday dismissed criminal charges against former president Hosni Mubarak in connection with the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his nearly three-decade reign. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
CROPPED VERSION Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (C) waves as he is transported from a military helicopter to the ambulance outside Maadi military hospital in Cairo on November 29, 2014 after a court dismissed a murder charge against the ousted leader over the deaths of protesters during a 2011 uprising that ended the former strongman's decades-long rule. The court also acquitted Mubarak of a corruption charge, but he will remain in prison because he is serving a three-year sentence in a separate corruption case. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wave by his poster as he was taken by a helicopter ambulance from Maadi Military Hospital to a court in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. The verdict is expected Saturday on charges connected to the killing of more than 900 protesters during the year's uprising against his rule. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 86, greets medics, army personnel and his supporters, as he leaves a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following his verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. An Egyptian court on Saturday dismissed criminal charges against former president Hosni Mubarak in connection with the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his nearly three-decade reign. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wave by his posters outside a court building where Mubarak was acquitted in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. An Egyptian court has dismissed criminal charges against Mubarak in connection with the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his nearly three-decade reign. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak greet him as his helicopter ambulance landed at Maadi Military Hospital, following his verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. An Egyptian court on Saturday dismissed criminal charges against former president Hosni Mubarak in connection with the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his nearly three-decade reign. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 photo, Amel Shaker holds a portrait of her 25-year-old son Ahmed, who was fatally shot in the back on the “Friday of Rage,” one of the bloodiest days of Egypt's 2011 uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo, Egypt. A verdict is expected on Saturday in Mubarak’s trial on charges connected to the killings of more than 900 protesters against his rule. But what was originally billed as Egypt’s “trial of the century” has largely faded from public attention after a drawn-out trial and re-trial and after upheaval that has flipped the political narrative. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Police monior the street during an anti-military demonstration, marking the third anniversary of the 2011 protests against the military which ignited deadly clashes with security forces, in Cairo on November 19, 2014. At least 43 people were killed and more than 3,000 wounded in clashes between the protesters and security forces that began on November 19, 2011, just nine months after Mubarak's ouster. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - NOVEMBER 29: The ambulance carrying the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak goes to the court in Cairo for his trial on November 29, 2014. (Photo by Mohamed Hossam/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
In this image made from video broadcast on Sada el-Balad via Egypt's State Television, ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits in the defendant cage during his trial at a court in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 29. Egypt court dismissed criminal charges against Mubarak in the killing of more than 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising against his rule. (AP Photo/Sada el-Balad via Egypt's State Television)
A supporter of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (portrait) stands outside the police academy in Cairo during his trial on November 29, 2014. A court dismissed a murder charge against the ousted leader over the deaths of protesters during a 2011 uprising that ended the former strongman's decades-long rule. The court also acquitted Mubarak of a corruption charge, but he will remain in prison because he is serving a three-year sentence in a separate corruption case. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 86, raises his hand to protect himself from the sun as he leaves a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital, following his retrial in a court in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Egypt's deposed President Mubarak on Wednesday denied that he ordered protesters killed during an uprising in 2011, in his first lengthy speech to a court as his year-old retrial draws to an end. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hold his posters as they greet him upon his arrival at Maadi Military Hospital, following his retrial in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Egypt's deposed President Mubarak on Wednesday denied that he ordered protesters killed during an uprising in 2011, in his first lengthy speech to a court as his year-old retrial draws to an end. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak holds his poster as she waits for his arrival at Maadi Military Hospital, following in his retrial in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Egypt's deposed President Mubarak on Wednesday denied that he ordered protesters killed during an uprising in 2011, in his first lengthy speech to a court as his year-old retrial draws to an end. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Egyptian medics and army personnel escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 86, who raises his hand on a stretcher, from a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital, following his retrial in a court in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Egypt's deposed President Mubarak on Wednesday denied that he ordered protesters killed during an uprising in 2011, in his first lengthy speech to a court as his year-old retrial draws to an end. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gather outside the Maadi Military Hospital, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Dozens of Mubarak supporters gathered outside the hospital to celebrate his 86th birthday. Mubarak, is under house arrest in the hospital and facing retrial for charges of complicity in the killings of protesters during the 2011 Egyptian uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, wave posters of him outside Maadi Military Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 25, 2014, as they celebrate Sinai liberation day, marking the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Sinai as stipulated in the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Accords. Mubarak, is under house arrest in the hospital and facing retrial for charges of complicity in the killings of protesters during the 2011 Egyptian uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, holds a poster of him, outside Maadi Military Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 25, 2014, to celebrate Sinai liberation day, marking the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Sinai as stipulated in the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Accords. Mubarak, is under house arrest in the hospital and facing retrial for charges of complicity in the killings of protesters during the 2011 Egyptian uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, waves to his supporters from his room at the Maadi Military Hospital, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Dozens of Mubarak supporters gathered outside the hospital to celebrate his 86th birthday. Mubarak, is under house arrest in the hospital and facing retrial for charges of complicity in the killings of protesters during the 2011 Egyptian uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
FILE -- In this Thursday, March 27, 2014 file photo, Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak, center, and his sons Gamal, left and Alaa, right, sit inside a defendant's cage during a hearing in Cairo, Egypt. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014 an Egyptian court has convicted ousted President Hosni Mubarak of embezzlement and sentenced him to three years in prison. Mubarak's two sons, one-time heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were also convicted of graft and sentenced to four years in prison each. (AP Photo)
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By MAGGIE MICHAEL

CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's deposed President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday denied that he ordered protesters killed during the 2011 uprising that deposed him, his first lengthy statement to a court as his year-old retrial draws to an end.

Speaking from a gurney inside a cage that holds defendants, the 86-year-old Mubarak described his 29-year rule as one that stabilized the country, a theme employed during his last days in power as the popular revolt against him grew and he resisted calls to step down.

"Hosni Mubarak speaking to you today would never order the killing of protesters or shedding the blood of Egyptians," the former autocrat said in a speech where he appeared at times sympathetic but also defiant.

"I voluntarily chose to give up my responsibility as president to prevent bloodshed and to preserve national unity, for Egypt not to slip into a dangerous path toward the unknown," he added, wearing a blue prison uniform and with reddened eyes.

Mubarak was found guilty in June 2012 of failing to stop the killing of over 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising and was sentenced to life imprisonment, but his conviction was overturned in January 2013. That decision was appealed by prosecutors, and a retrial began in April 2013.

Along with Mubarak, his security chief Habib el-Adly, convicted and sentenced to life in prison on the same charges, as well as six of el-Adly's top aides, are also standing trial. All six were acquitted in the earlier trial.

The final verdict will be issued on Sept. 27, the judge said.

Police forces collapsed in the first days of the uprising, when protesters stormed police stations across the country and burned police vehicles after street clashes with security forces turned deadly.

Since the revolt, nearly 173 policemen and security officials have been put on trial, but all were acquitted either for lack of evidence or under the pretext that the police acted in self-defense. The acquittals became a cornerstone of Mubarak's defense strategy.

Mubarak said that the 2011 protests began peacefully but were taken over by "exploiters of religion inside and outside the country" who steered the demonstrations toward violence.

It was the same language often used by Mubarak-era media men and officials to refer to the Muslim Brotherhood group, whose leader Mohammed Morsi became Mubarak's successor in the country's first free elections in 2012.

A year later, the military overthrew Morsi after millions staged demonstrations against him demanding his resignation for what they called abuse of power. The government branded the group a terrorist organization and unleashed an unprecedented deadly crackdown against its supporters, who staged near daily rallies demanding Morsi's return to power. Hundreds were killed and thousands jailed on violence-linked charges. Morsi himself faces charges that carry the death sentence.

The Brotherhood is preparing for mass demonstrations on Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins. Human Rights Watch accused authorities of using lethal force and said the killings amount to crimes against humanity, which the government angrily rejected.


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