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Former Egyptian President Guilty in Killings, Sentenced to Life

  • Elizabeth Arrott

Crowds outside the court in Cairo as Mubarak's sentence was announced Saturday, June 2, 2012 (VOA - Y. Weeks)

Crowds outside the court in Cairo as Mubarak's sentence was announced Saturday, June 2, 2012 (VOA - Y. Weeks)

CAIRO - Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, has been found guilty for his role in the killings of protesters during the uprising that forced his downfall. His interior minister was also found guilty, but other top security officials were acquitted.

Mubarak has been sentenced to life in prison for his complicity in the killing of anti-government protesters, escaping the death penalty called for by the trial prosecutor.

As Judge Ahmed Rifaat read the verdict, the anti-Mubarak crowd outside the courthouse erupted in chants of God is Great, and set off fireworks to mark the decision.

Q&A with VOA's Elizabeth Arrott

Many of those gathered were relatives of the slain protesters.

The first Arab leader ousted during the region's uprisings to face court, Mubarak was acquitted, along with his sons, Gamal and Alaa, of corruption charges. The news dampened the jubilation of the crowd, with suspicions that the vast wealth allegedly accumulated by the Mubarak family and inner circle would remain in their hands.

Crowds outside the Cairo courtroom protesting against the verdict, and chanting: null and void

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The acquittal of several other high-ranking officials was also a disappointment, prompting some at the scene to compare the trial to the revolution itself: The leaders have fallen, but the next tier remained.

Anti-Mubarak crowd outside the courthouse was initially jubilant as the verdict was announced on Saturday, but the mood changed as people learned more about the decision.

Thousands of demonstrators came to Cairo's Tahrir Square after the court session, chanting and waving Egyptian flags.

There was a dampening of the mood when it turned out that Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, were acquitted of corruption charges. That, to many people, seemed that the money that many people feel that the Mubarak family and the inner circle have plundered from the country, will still be in their hands.

Reaction outside the court right after the guilty verdict

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The verdict and sentencing come as the nation remains divided over who will replace the 84-year-old Mubarak. The first presidential election since his ouster pits an Islamist, Mohamed Morsi, against a former Mubarak ally - Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under the old guard. The runoff between the two - a disappointing choice for many Egyptians - is slated for June 16-17.

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