Reports That Mubarak Will Seek Amnesty Spark Outcry, Calls for Return to Tahrir
Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, has been released on bail from detention after agreeing to give up her assets in Egypt, says NPR. Hosni Mubarak himself plans to release an “audio appeal for amnesty in return for handing over all his holdings” according to the daily El-Shorouk. However, according to the Daily News Egypt, Mubarak cannot be legally granted amnesty even if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) approves it.
The Mubaraks face charges that they illegally acquired their wealth over Hosni Mubarak’s thirty years of rule. Mubarak is also charged with ordering government forces to fire on protesters during the Egyptian revolution earlier this year. Their sons, Gamal and Alaa, have been imprisoned in Torah Prison in Cairo since last month.
Suzanne Mubarak had been detained over the weekend and was being held at the same hospital in Sharm El Sheik where her husband has been since April. On hearing that she would be arrested and taken to a women’s prison in Cairo, Suzanne Mubarak fainted and was reported to have complained of chest pains. She has agreed to turnover property (including a luxury villa) and money said to total $4 million to the state. The Mubaraks are still reported to have a fortune worth tens of billions of dollars; Mubarak has denied this, says the BBC. Their bank accounts in Cairo and Switzerland have been frozen as investigations continue.
The Washington Post says that Mubarak will “also use the broadcast to remind Egyptians of his time in the armed forces, including his service during the 1973 war with Israel.”
Egyptians responded in frustration about Mubarak’s request for amnesty, says the Daily News Egypt:
“A pardon does not legally eliminate a crime that has been committed. It is the people’s right to have him prosecuted,” [law professor Salah Sadek], who represents several January 25 Revolution protesters, said.
“What about those tortured and killed at the hands of state security investigations officers … or the peaceful protesters shot dead on the streets? Who said Egyptians gave up their right to have him prosecuted?”
Calls to Egyptians to return to the street have appeared on Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook and Twitter messages called for rallies on May 27 under the banner, “I have not felt the change, I am going back to Tahrir” — the central Cairo square that was the center of the protests. It reflected disappointment with the way the military council, which took over from Mubarak, is running the country.
The Youth Revolution Coalition, made up of several youth movements the led uprising against Mubarak, rejected the idea that the deposed president could get off with just an apology and restoration.
“We are going to prosecute anybody who committed crimes, whatever the results and the sacrifices,” their statement said.
The statement warned officials that if they pardon Mubarak, his family or associates, “they will be sparking the revolution again.”
Others note that, should Mubarak be pardoned, the door is open for other former officials who are currently being investigated to seek the same, to avoid prosecution.
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Photo of Hosni and Suzanne Mubarak with Polish President Lech Kaczyński and Polish First Lady Maria Kaczyńska by Archiwum Kancelarii Prezydenta RP (www.prezydent.pl) [GFDL 1.2 (www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons