CAIRO — An Egyptian court decided Monday to combine the trials of the country's former interior minister and ousted President Hosni Mubarak for the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled the longtime leader in February.
The Cairo court's ruling set Aug. 3 as the start date for the trial of Mubarak and former interior minister Habib el-Adly. Mubarak had already been scheduled to go on trial on the same date.
El-Adly and six of his top aides had already gone on trial for the killing of protesters during the revolt. But the trial's chief judge opted at Monday's hearing to fold the two trials into one since the defendants face the same charges.
If convicted, Mubarak, 83, and el-Adly and the six others could face the death penalty.
Mubarak has been under arrest in a hospital at a Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April. There has been no official announcement on where Mubarak's trial will be held, but local media reports say a court in Sharm el-Sheikh has been readied for the trial.
Monday's hearing was broadcast live by state television, allowing millions of Egyptians to see el-Adly and his co-defendants in detention for the first time.
El-Adly already is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. He was in charge of Egypt's 500,000-strong police force, some of whom are blamed for the worst human rights abuses during Mubarak's 29-year-rule. He wore a blue prison suit.
The broadcast of el-Adly's court appearance was likely to be welcomed by protesters camping out at Cairo's central Tahrir Square to press demands that the killers of the protesters be brought to justice.
Monday's hearing at a Cairo court was chaotic, with lawyers and relatives of victims pushing and shouting in the courtroom, prompting the judge to threaten to throw everyone out of the courtroom.