850 killed in uprising, Mubarak ordered firing

Cairo: The noose around Egypt`s ousted ailing President Hosni Mubarak appeared to be tightening with a government fact finding mission, in damning strictures holding him responsible for use of live ammunition to break up three week long popular uprising in which it said 850 people were killed.

The report by a panel of judges today said the police forces fired directly at the protesters aiming for "head and chest" and later armoured vehicles were ordered to run them over and the authorisation for this brutal use of force could be traced ultimately to Mubarak himself.

The report made public put the death toll in the three week long uprising that toppled long serving Mubarak and electrified the region at least 850, more than twice that of previous official estimates banded about by Mubarak associates.

With the judges pointing an accusing finger at Mubarak himself, the toppled President, currently in detention in a military hospital after complaints of heart trouble could face execution or life in jail according to the state media.

Zakaria Shalash, head of the Cairo`s Appeal`s Court was quoted by official al-Ahram newspaper as saying that Mubarak may face execution after a trial, if he is found guilty of ordering killings of protesters during the January popular uprising.

The judge said, that such a trial could be last upto a year.

Mubarak and his two sons are facing investigations on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

"Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal have been detained for 15 days for questioning on corruption and abuse of authority charges," official news agency MENA reported quoting a statement from the Justice Ministry.

"The fatalities were due to firing bullets at the head and chest", the report said adding that besides the killings they were huge number of eye injuries with hundreds of people filling hospitals and losing their sights.

The panel held Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of the protesters since his interior minister Habib el-Adly- currently being held in jail – had issued the orders to open fire.

Omar Marwan, the head of the commission said the report was based on accounts of 17,058 officials and eyewitnesses along with 800 video clops and pictures obtained from the individuals who were present at the protest.

The panel cites the attempt of the former president to pass on presidency to his son as one of the main reasons for the popular uprising besides corruption, oppression and poverty.

Mubarak`s sons and his close aides are all locked up in Egypt`s infamous Tora prison, south of the capital.

The former Health and Labour ministers were questioned yesterday and the prosecutors even quizzed the former vice president Omar Suleiman about Mubarak`s wealth and activities during the protest.

In other disclosures, the panel said security officials had colluded in orchestrating prison breaks to de-stabilise the country.

The judges however said that they could not conclusively identify the causes of the unexplained withdrawal of police from the streets in Cairo and elsewhere in the country in the wake of deadly clashes between security forces and protesters on January 28.

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