After a nearly three-month hiatus the trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resumed on Wednesday - only to be postponed until January 2.
Mubarak, 83, faces numerous charges of corruption as well as complicity in the deaths of nearly 840 protesters during the popular uprising that ended in his ouster on February 11. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
The former leader, who is in ailing health, was brought to Cairo by helicopter and transferred to court by ambulance. State television showed him being wheeled into court on a stretcher.
Mubarak, who was reported to have suffered a minor heart attack during his initial interrogation, has been under arrest and in hospital since April.
The former leader’s two sons Alaa and Gamal, his interior minister Habib Al Adly and six former security chiefs, who are Mubarak’s co-defendants, were also brought to court. All entered pleas of "not guilty" when the trial began on August 3.
Before postponing the trial for a fourth time since it began, presiding judge Ahmad Refaat ordered investigators to provide the court with a complete list of the names of protesters killed and injured during the 18-day revolt against Mubarak.
He also ordered police to probe claims that Mubarak officials had erased footage of clashes in which protesters were slain during the uprising.
Some 5,000 police were deployed to secure the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo where the trial is being held.
Amid the ongoing unrest in Cairo's streets between Egypt's caretaker junta and protesters demanding a transition to civilian rule Wednesday’s hearing did not draw the large crowds previous hearings did.
A few pro-Mubarak supporters held banners of the former president, while families of the victims who died in protests carried pictures of their deceased relatives, an AFP correspondent said.
The trial's last hearing was in September when the head of the military council, which took power after Mubarak's ouster, testified in a closed-door session. Previous hearings had been contentious with violence breaking out.