Military commander says deaths were not reported during battle of the camel

Former commander of the Central Military Zone, Hassan al-Roweiny, has given his account in the trial of 24 former regime officials accused of orchestrating a bloody attack on pro-democracy protesters in February 2011.

Testifying before the Cairo Criminal Court on Tuesday, Roweiny said he had not received any reports of deaths or firearms seizures in Tahrir Square on 2 and 3 February, when men riding camels and horses attacked protests against toppled President Hosni Mubarak. The case came to be known throughout the media as the Battle of the Camel.

Defendants in the case include former People’s Assembly Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour and former Shura Council speaker Safwat al-Sherif.

In his testimony, Roweiny said that the only reports he had received were of injuries, not deaths. He explained that protesters on both sides only exchanged stones and Molotov cocktails.

Roweiny said the only public figure he met during the events was Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed al-Beltagy.

Asked whether he could identify the individuals who stood on rooftops near the square, Roweiny said video records had shown that some of those were bearded, adding that at the time, he thought they were Muslim Brotherhood supporters but could not verify it.

“I asked Beltagy to tell those people to get down, but he denied any links to them,” Roweniy said, adding that he ordered one of the soldiers to shoot at them if they do not respond.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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