Mubarak denies abuse of power
Updated: 2011-04-12 07:11
CAIRO - In the first remarks since his dramatic resignation, former president Hosni Mubarak denied that he used his position to amass wealth and property during three decades in power, and issued an emotional defense of his legacy.
The statement, broadcast on Sunday at the end of a turbulent weekend that saw a deadly military crackdown on protesters, only stoked more public anger in the midst of Egypt's turbulent transition to a more democratic system.
As the ruling military council comes under increasing public pressure for its management of the post-Mubarak transition, the ex-president's first words were a reminder that he still has a grip on the country's mood.
Shortly after the speech was aired, Egypt's prosecutor general announced he had issued orders summoning the ex-president and his two sons for questioning on the embezzlement allegations. The scope of the investigation was also widened to include the crackdown on protesters that killed an estimated 300 people.
The pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, which broadcast the speech, said it was recorded on Saturday, a day after demonstrators gathered in huge numbers in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand that the military council that took over from Mubarak launch an investigation into his wealth.
The speech seemed to be as much about preserving his dignity as about denying the accusations against him.
"I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting - my family and I - from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military history," Mubarak said.
The speech came as hundreds of protesters remain barricaded in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Mubarak from office on Feb 11 after 18 days of mass demonstrations.
Friday's protest by tens of thousands was the biggest since Mubarak's ouster. Despite constitutional amendments to allow free elections and other steps toward a freer political scene, many in the anti-Mubarak movement are skeptical of the military's pledges to meet all demands.
Trust between the military and the reform movement suffered a serious setback when soldiers stormed their protest camp in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, killing at least one person and injuring 71 others.
That increased calls for the resignation of the head of the military council running the country, Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak appointee. It also spurred protesters to retake Tahrir Square.
Foreign readers are invited to share your China stories.
China accounted for 33% of global fine art sales.
Lack of sponsorship appears to be why Chinese drivers have yet to race in a Formula 1 event