CAIRO (AA) – Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday defended himself against charges that he had ordered the killing of anti-regime demonstrators during the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule.
“I could never order the murder of Egyptians,” he told the court in a televised address for the first time since the fall of his regime on February 11, 2011.
“I could never order the shedding of Egyptian blood,” added Mubarak, speaking on a hospital bed from behind a steel cage.
He read from what appeared to be a well-prepared written speech.
Wearing a blue prison uniform and reading glasses, Mubarak at times gave the impression that he was addressing the nation as president.
Mubarak was finally brought down after millions of Egyptians took to the streets in 2011 to demand an end to his corruption-tainted rule.
Hundreds of demonstrators were gunned down and thousands injured in the early days of the 18-day uprising.
But on Wednesday, Mubarak said he could never order the murder of Egyptians or allow Egypt to be paralyzed by instability.
“Everyone knows how much effort I put into protecting this country’s security,” he told the court.
Mubarak insisted that he had stepped down voluntarily to prevent bloodshed.
He then launched into typical conspiracy discourse, saying those who “trade in religion” had exploited demonstrators and incited them to commit acts of violence.
These elements and their allies “both inside and outside Egypt,” he added, had aimed to bring down the state and its institutions.
Mubarak did not appear concerned about the criminal charges leveled against him.
Rather, the octogenarian ex-leader appeared more concerned about his legacy as president.
He said he had contributed to the country’s progress, helped Egypt cut its foreign debt in half, and had fought against terrorism.
“I also protected the armed forces and did everything I could to serve the country’s interests,” Mubarak added.
He said he knew that he was far from perfect, admitting to having made decisions that failed to live up to Egyptians’ aspirations.
“But God knows I took these decisions with the aim of serving the country,” Mubarak said.
He insisted that since leaving office he and his family had been subject to media smears and injustice.
“This may be the last time I address my people,” Mubarak said. “But I’m sure history will judge my legacy and Egypt will never forget those who served it.
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