The judge overseeing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trial detained a senior Egyptian police official on a charge of perjury Wednesday after the official denied that security forces had used live ammunition against protesters during the revolution.

Judge Ahmed Refaat’s decision regarding Capt. Mohamed Abdel Hakim’s testimony elicited cheers from civil rights lawyers and gave new life to a struggling prosecution, which during the last two days of the trial had been embarrassed when key witnesses took back statements they had made earlier implicating Mubarak’s regime.

The move, however, only slightly quells Egyptians’ widespread fear that Mubarak, charged with complicity to commit murder, won’t be convicted. — BF

The Los Angeles Times:

The prosecution is attempting to prove that Mubarak ordered Interior Ministry forces to use live ammunition to crush protests from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11, when more than 800 people were killed. But the prosecution’s five witnesses thus far have testified that they were aware of no such orders.

Hakim’s testimony echoed that given by four police officials on Monday. He said that on Jan. 28 he was attached to a brigade that went into the streets armed only with shields, batons, tear gas and pellet pistols.

“Some of the victims were shot with live ammunition,” the judge said. “Who do you think shot them?”

Mohamed replied: “I don’t know.”

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