The trial of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resumed. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, arguing that Mubarak ordered security forces to fire on protesters during the uprising a year ago. Interior Minister Habib el-Adly and six other former security chiefs also face the same charges.
Along with his sons, Alaa and Gamal, Mubarak has also been charged with abusing power to amass wealth.
As chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman told the court on the third and final day of the prosecutors’ opening statement, “‘[Mubarak] can never, as the head of the state, claim that he did not know what was going on…He is responsible and must bear the legal and political responsibility for what happened.’” On January 28, after the uprising had entered its third day and after security forces had disappeared from the streets for yet unexplained reasons, Mubarak called out the army, says the New York Times. Suleiman noted that Mubarak had told investigators that he decided to step down from power because the military had refused to act “immediately and urgently” to help the security forces against the protesters.
Mustafa Khater, another lawyer on the five-member prosecution team, said:
“Retribution is the solution. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants. We feel the spirits of the martyrs flying over this hall of sacred justice, and those who lost their sight by the bullets of the defendants are stumbling around it to reach the judge and demand fair retribution from those who attacked them.
“The nation and the people are awaiting a word of justice and righteousness.”
Another prosecutor, Wael Hussein, said that one of the six police commanders on trial, former chief of the state security agency Hassan Abdel-Rahman, gave orders to release thousands of inmates from a number of jails across Egypt during the uprising and a “dramatic surge in crime” since January 28 of last year has resulted.
Prosecutors have obtained evidence from over 2,000 witnesses, including soldiers who said they had been given orders from above to fire on protesters.
While the death penalty has been mentioned since the start of Mubarak’s trial, actually hearing it mentioned in court will be “shocking” for many Egyptians, says the BBC‘s Jon Leyne from Cairo. The likelihood of Mubarak actually being executed –by hanging — or convicted on the charges is “another question entirely,” as the interior ministry has not cooperated in producing evidence and one key witness has altered his testimony. In September, former Defence Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, stated to a closed-door session that Mubarak had never given orders to fire on protesters.
Mubarak’s trial has been adjourned until January 9. More than 800 protesters were killed in the 18-day revolt that led to the fall of Mubarak. Saying that he is in poor health, the 83-year-old former ruler is being held in a military hospital and wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher.
Previous Care2 Coverage
Photo by Al Jazeera English
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.