CAIRO – At least 846 Egyptians died in the nearly three-week-long popular uprising that toppled long-serving President Hosni Mubarak, electrifying the region, a government fact-finding mission announced Tuesday. In their report, the panel of judges described police forces shooting protesters in the head and chest with live ammunition and presented a death toll more than twice that of previous official estimates. "The fatal shots were due to firing bullets at the head and the chest," the report read, adding that "a huge number of eye injures," filled hospitals, and hundreds lost their sight.
Earlier official estimates had put the toll from the days of demonstrations, in which protesters battled heavily armed legions of riot police, at 365. The mission held Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of the protesters since his interior minister, Habib el-Adly, had issued the orders to open fire. According to Omar Marawan, the head of the commission, the report is based on accounts of 17,058 officials and eyewitnesses along with 800 video clips and pictures obtained from individuals who were present at the protests.
Mubarak was forced to step down on Feb. 11 by massive demonstrations against his three decades in power. One of the protesters' chief complaints was the corruption that pervades the government, its bureaucracy and virtually all levels of society. Mubarak and his sons were placed in custody April 13 for 15 days while they are investigated over allegations of corruption and their role in the shooting of protesters. Mubarak has remained in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh until he can be transferred to a military hospital. He was hospitalized with unspecified heart problems on Tuesday, the same day his questioning began. Along with the president's sons, most of Mubarak's associates are in Tora prison, south of the capital, over allegations related to corruption and violence against protesters.
On Tuesday, the health and labor ministers were questioned over corruption and the day before prosecutors spoke to former vice president Omar Suleiman about Mubarak's wealth and activities during the protests. Among the mission's conclusions, was confirmation that policemen commandeered a U.S. embassy vehicle and used it to run over protesters on Feb. 2, the same day horses and camels charged demonstrators in Tahrir square. (AP)