Egypt’s Trial of the Century

Egypt’s Trial of the Century

Mubarak’s trial has been the anticipated event for all Egyptians and other people from all over the world. The ambiguity that clouded the situation – regarding whether Mubarak will attend or there will be a medical report justifying his absence from the court – has dominated the debate in Egypt till the morning of the day of the trial.

After much debate, it was finally decided that the trial takes place in the Police Academy in New Cairo; a cage costing 40 thousand Egyptian pounds was established inside the court room. The Academy is the same place that witnessed the last public speech of Mubarak on Police Day on January 23rd, 2011.

The request to move Mubarak to Cairo was made only the night before the trial. TV cameras and channels were banned from covering the event except the Egyptian TV, which was exclusively allowed to broadcast from inside the court room. Al-Jazeera channel was the most voiced one for not being allowed inside the court. The Jazeera reporter from the court said that there were clashes outside the court between the families of the killed demonstrators – who were prevented from getting inside the court – and some pro Mubarak supporters.

Mubarak’s lead attorney, Fareed El-Deeb, requested to decide Mubarak’s case separately from that of his interior minister Habeeb Al-Adly regarding the killing of demonstrators during the January 25th Revolution.

Some of the defendant lawyers of the assistants of the former Interior Minister, Habeeb Al-Adly, asked for summoning the former Chief of Intelligence, Omar Soliman, and the Minister of Defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy, to stand as witnesses in this case.

The cases of Mubarak and his two sons (Alaa and Gamal) had not been heard in the court till a recess was called for by the Judge. 

After the recess, the public prosecution announced charges against Hosni Mubarak, Hussein Salem, Alaa Mubarak and Gamal Mubarak as well as Habeeb Al-Adly. The charges included the killing of the demonstrators and financial corruption involving Mubarak and his two sons and the businessman Hussein Salem.

Hosni Mubarak and his two sons (Alaa Mubarak and Gamal Mubarak) denied all charges against them. This was the first time Mubarak spoke during the trial.

In the court, one of the lawyers of the killed demonstrators asked for summoning Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy and Chief of Staff Samy Anan for their statements that Mubarak has made orders to kill the demonstrators by the Armed Forces to end the uprising, and they refused to do so. There were also requests to involve other policemen in the case as well as other officials.

There were also judges from State Law-cases Authority who came as claimants of public rights and they raised cases against the defendants Hosni Mubarak and Habeeb Al-Adly for the damage they caused to the State Treasury because of their actions.

The trial went for a second recess after hearing the demands of the lawyer of Hosni Mubarak, Fareed El-Deeb.

During the recess, Abdel-Fattah Fayed, the al-Jazeera correspondent in Cairo, commented by saying that Mubarak’s health seems fine though he appeared on his bed inside the cage to attract the sympathy of the Egyptian people. Fayed said that this trick did not fool the Egyptian people.

Also, Al-Jazeera during the recess sent one of its reporters to the streets of Cairo to ask the people about their reactions to the Mubarak trial. The people in the street asked the judge to give firm and decisive punishments to the defendants. One of them said that this is a big victory for the Egyptian people and the people killed in the revolution. He also said that he does not yet trust that the course of the trial will go on to the end till he receives a due verdict.

From Kefaya movement, Abdel-Haleem Quandil, said that this is a pivotal moment for all the Arab nation and it is a precedent in history. He said that the young people who made a sit-in in Tahrir Square are the ones who brought Egypt to this point and forced the Military Council to put Mubarak to trial after a lot of postponement of this issue.

At the end, the judge Ahmed Refaat decided to split the two cases. He postponed the case of Al-Adly (no. 1227) till next day, August 4, 2011 and he postponed the case of Mubarak, his two sons and Hussein Salem (no. 3642) till August 15, 2011. The judge decided that Mubarak should be placed in the International Medical Center, which is close to Ismailia.