News / Africa

Mubarak Pleads 'Not Guilty' in Historic Egyptian Trial

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is seen in the courtroom for his trial at the Police Academy in Cairo, August 3, 2011.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is seen in the courtroom for his trial at the Police Academy in Cairo, August 3, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak appeared in a courtroom cage Wednesday charged with the murder of anti-government protesters and corruption.  The trial, unprecedented in Egyptian history, is riveting the nation.

Mubarak was wheeled into the temporary courtroom on a hospital gurney, taking his place next to his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six ex-security officials.

Video clip of Mubarak hearing

As the trial got underway, the judge asked Mubarak if he heard the charges against him, which include ordering the killing of protesters during an 18-day uprising earlier this year.  The former leader said he did, adding he denied them categorically.   Along with his sons, he is also accused of corruption.  The younger Mubaraks also denied the charges. 

If found guilty, the defendants face the possibility of the death penalty.  Mubarak appeared alert as he lay on the stretcher, less drawn than when last seen publicly in a defiant speech in February.  The 83-year-old was flown to the capital early Wednesday from Sharm el-Sheikh, where aides say he has been in poor health since stepping down in the face of the protests.     

More than 800 people were killed during the uprising.

Egyptians react

Outside the court, where a giant screen relayed the image of the caged defendants, the mother of Mohamed Soliman Tawfik, a university student killed in the protests, said she was relieved.  

She said her child was a good boy, raised properly, unlike the sons of Hosni Mubarak. Holding a picture of her dead son, she says it is enough for her to see the former president in the cage. 

Anti-Mubarak protesters scuffle with riot police outside the Police Military Academy complex in Cairo, Egypt, August 3, 2011, during the trial session of ousted President Hosni Mubarak
Anti-Mubarak protesters scuffle with riot police outside the Police Military Academy complex in Cairo, Egypt, August 3, 2011, during the trial session of ousted President Hosni Mubarak

Nearby, riot police, who clashed briefly with Mubarak supporters earlier in the day, seemed as intent on watching the image of their former president behind bars as they were on the crowd.  Among those outside the court, a makeshift affair in a policy academy that once bore Mubarak's name was newspaper editor Rania Al Malky. She said if someone had predicted this last year, she would have thought they were crazy.    

"I would have said they were are living in Mars or Neptune or somewhere outside Earth because this was unthinkable.  I think what happened is a miracle and the way everything has happened since the fist day, since January 25th, has been a miracle," she said.

Mubarak was the second Arab leader forced from power during the popular, anti-government uprisings that have rocked North Africa and the Middle East this year and the first to come to trial.    Those who support the man who ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years spoke out in his defense, with one man blaming the media and foreign countries, including the United States and Israel, for all that has happened.  

"I always support him and millions of Egyptians support Mubarak," he said. "I believe this is a conspiracy on Egypt, a well done conspiracy but, inshaalla, with God's will we are going to defeat this conspiracy in time. "

But such people seemed in the minority.   Across the capital, Egyptians sat grouped around televisions set up in cafes and doorways, watching the historic trial playing out before their eyes.  The case against Mubarak and his sons is set to resume on August 15. The others are set to appear in court again on Thursday.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs