An Egyptian criminal court on Sunday adjourned the trial of former interior minister Habib el-Adly. Judge Ahmed Rifaat ordered four recesses in the first three hours of the morning's proceedings in response to conduct by defense counsel that he believed was disruptive and disorganized. Defense counsel was never able to present its case in the course of the session. The trial is set to resume September 5. El-Adly and Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] face charges of killing pro-democracy protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt [JURIST news archive] earlier this year. Six of el-Adly's former assistants are also charged with murdering demonstrators [CNN report]. Mubarak's trial began on August 3 [JURIST report] at the Cairo Criminal Court, but was adjourned until August 15 to allow Mubarak to continue treatment for cancer.
El-Adly's trial resumed on August 3 after being delayed late last month [JURIST report]. El-Adly, who was already serving a 12-year prison sentence, was sentenced to five years [JURIST report] in July on corruption charges. Former finance minister Yousef Boutros and former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, along with el-Adly, were ordered to return USD $15 million for a no-bid contract, while Boutros and el-Adly were also fined nearly USD $17 million. In March, a commission of Arab and Egyptian human rights groups accused Mubarak [JURIST report] and the police of murdering protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt. Mubarak could face the death penalty [JURIST report] if convicted of ordering attacks on protesters, and el-Adly's testimony could help prove Mubarak was an accomplice to the killings. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported that at least 840 people were killed [JURIST report], and more than 6,000 were injured, during the Egyptian protests.