EGYPT:Mubarak pleads not guilty
Laaska News August 3,2011
Hosni Mubarak. Photo: EPA
Court hearings of the case of Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak and his sons will resume on the 15th of August. The court complied with the lawyers’ request to postpone the hearing so that the defence could read the additional materials. At the same time, the trial of the ex-head of the Interior Ministry Habib al-Adly, who is tried together with Mubarak, will resume on Thursday.
During the trial the ex-head of Egypt will stay at the hospital of the International Medical Centre in Cairo. Yesterday his lawyers declared that their client had serious problems with his stomach and heart. He was brought to the courtroom on a stretcher and did not get up for the whole duration of the session. On the other hand, this did not prevent him from categorically pleading not guilty of corruption and public massacre. “I reject all these charges as I have nothing to do with them”, the ex-president declared.
The trial of Mubarak and his sons is an open trial. Viewers and journalists are allowed to the courtroom and the state TV company broadcasts the hearings live. Egyptian political scientist General Talaat Ahmad Musallam explains why this is so in his interview for The Voice of Russia:
“The decision to organize an open trial of Mubarak was made at the demand of the Egyptian people, especially because many still do not believe that the trial will be carried off. Such a public trial is taking place in Egypt for the first time. Naturally, this can have a negative effect on the impartiality of the court and can even put pressure on it and as a result the judges may make the wrong decision.”
Contrary to all fears, the first session showed that the trial was kept within legal regulations, even in spite of the squabble between the judge and Mubarak’s lawyers, says the correspondent of The Voice of Russia in Egypt Rolan Bidzhamov:
“It was believed that Mubarak’s appearance in the courtroom on a stretcher and behind bars would raise the feelings of pity and sympathy in the Egyptian society. People saw the former ruler of their country lying on a stretcher, they saw his sons purposefully standing in front of their father to prevent cameras from filming Mubarak’s face for a long time. Until yesterday people did not believe that Mubarak would appear in the courtroom at all. They thought that his look-alike would be there instead. Only at the last moment did people get evidence that Mubarak was indeed in the courtroom together with other defendants”.
The whole world shows a tremendous interest in this trial, and especially the Arab countries for which Hosni Mubarak’s example is very symptomatic. The media call this trial historic and crucial, Rolan Bidzhamov points out:
“This trial can affect the future of the entire region. The Arab people are trying their ruler for the first time in history. It is true that there was a trial of Saddam Hussein but the Egyptians think that because the trial of Hussein and his execution took place during an occupation, that situation cannot be compared to what is going on in Egypt now, when the people are giving their former ruler a fair trial.”
We can add that there were clashes between the ex-president’s supporters and opponents in front of the Police Academy building in Cairo all day. They threw empty bottles and stones at each other. Police and the army managed to stop the unrest. According to the latest information, 53 people were injured.