Egypt’s fallen pharaoh back in the dock

The murder and corruption trial of Egypt’s fallen dictator Hosni Mubarak resumes on Monday in what lawyers say will be a lengthy process that he may successfully appeal.

Mubarak (83) is accused of involvement in the killings of anti-regime activists during a January and February revolt that ended his three decades in power.

He also faces corruption charges with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, and shares the murder charges with his former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six former police commanders, who are being tried by the same judge in separate hearings.

Mubarak is being held in a military hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.

In the first session on August 3, Mubarak was wheeled in on a stretcher after being flown by military plane from a hospital in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition.

His appearance in court, penned in a black metal cage, came as a shock to Egyptians who watched the proceedings on live television. Few believed he would ever be seen in court.

But as the first hearing progressed, the difficult task facing judge Ahmed Refaat became clear, as dozens of lawyers representing victims’ families jostled to make their demands of the court.

Mubarak’s lawyer Farid al-Deeb, who told an Egyptian newspaper that Mubarak will be present for the second hearing, asked the judge to call 1 600 witnesses, including top military officials.

The military was called out on January 28, after protesters torched police stations across the country, and took charge on February 11 when Mubarak resigned.

Ahmed Mekki, a recently retired deputy head of Cairo’s appeals court, said the trial will now move to investigating the evidence and calling witnesses, first for the prosecution and then for the defence.

Grounds for appeal
But the court will probably cull the list of witnesses demanded by Deeb, which would provide him with solid ground for appealing a possible guilty verdict, said one of the lawyers representing victims in civil suits.

“If the court does not listen to all the witnesses, it will give grounds for appeal,” said Taher Abu Nasr, whose Front for the Defence of Egyptian Protesters represents 35 plaintiffs.

“There will be an appeal, and the appeal will be successful,” Abu Nasr said.

Most of the lawyers have yet to review the thousands of documents of evidence that have been provided by the court, some say belatedly.

But judging by the cases of dozens of police commanders who face charges or are on trial over alleged crimes during the revolt, they fear the evidence against Mubarak to be patchy and ill-prepared.

Legal experts say that a thorough investigation into Mubarak’s alleged crimes should have taken several more months, but the military and the government expedited the process to mollify protesters.

“The prosecution [filed the case] perhaps before questioning people they should have questioned,” said Abu Nasr.

“The case was filed under street pressure,” said Mekki, adding that he believed the court would still conduct the trial fairly.

“The prosecution may be amenable to pressure, but the court will not rule unjustly,” he said.

More than 850 people were killed in the 18 days that led to Mubarak’s ouster, and thousands more were wounded. – AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Samer Al Atrush
Samer Al Atrush works from تونس. Journalist based in covering North Africa. DM open. Stock disclaimer. I hate mangoes. Samer Al Atrush has over 15683 followers on Twitter.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Why are we still fighting for equal rights in the...

Women find it more difficult to find employment, are often paid less and have limited opportunities to climb to leadership positions

ANC integrity commission calls for Mkhize’s suspension, labels Kodwa a...

The ANC’s integrity commission has criticised the party’s officials and the national executive committee for suppressing and ignoring its recommendations in its annual report

Inequality defines the nature of South Africa’s economy

This cannot be rectified without redistributing wealth and property – and therefore power

Don’t privatise electricity in South Africa

South Africa must reject green capitalism and develop a public pathway to energy security

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…