News / Africa

    Egyptians Protest Mubarak Verdict

    Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square on June 2, 2012.
    Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square on June 2, 2012.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    CAIRO - Thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets to protest the verdicts in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak.  The ousted leader was given a life sentence for his role in  the killing of protesters during last year's uprising, but others in the case were acquitted.


    Demonstrators turned out in Alexandria, Suez and other cities across the nation.  In Cairo, protesters flooded Tahrir Square, the heart of the revolution, demanding everything from a retrial to the death penalty for Mubarak.

    • Anti-Mubarak protesters chant in front of a Cairo courthouse, awaiting a verdict in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • A woman holds a sign with the image of a slain protester in front of a courthouse in Cairo awaiting a verdict in the trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • A couple honors one the protesters killed during the uprising, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • The crowd displays a banner with photos of those killed in the uprising in Cairo, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Anti-Mubarak protesters embrace at the news of his guilty verdict in Cairo, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • A brother of the protester killed during the Tahrir uprising protests in Cairo, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Jubilation as news of the guilty verdict spreads in Cairo, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • The crowd sets off fireworks as Mubarak is found guilty, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Also near the courthouse, but separated by a sea of riot police, were Mubarak supporters, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Riot police stood guard outside of a Cairo courthouse just before former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Young anti-Mubarak protesters chant outside of the Cairo courthouse where former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak awaited a verdict in his trial, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)
    • Riot police stand guard as anti-Mubarak protesters chant in the background in Cairo, June 2, 2012. (VOA/Y. Weeks)

    Weak evidence

    The prosecutor had called for the harsher sentence, but the judge, citing weak evidence, used his discretion in handing down a life term.  He found that Mubarak failed to prevent the deaths during the first week of the uprising, but  was not directly responsible for them.  The same verdict and sentence was given to former interior minister Habib al Adli.  

    Equally galling to the anti-Mubarak crowds was the acquittal of six top security officials, with some demonstrators arguing the case ended up like the revolution itself, with the leaders off the stage, but the next tier unscathed.

    It was a rapid turn of mood from the jubilation outside the courthouse when the verdict was announced earlier in the day.

    Family members of those killed embraced, wept, and fell to the ground in prayer.

    Protester Mohammed held a picture of his brother Bilal, killed during the first days of the uprising. He said his brother went out to ask for “bread, freedom and equality” -  instead, he got a bullet.

    From joy to anger

    ​But as the implications of the verdict were absorbed, and the chance it could be easily overturned became clearer, the joy turned to anger.

    Some were also furious that Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, and others were acquitted of corruption charges.  They suspect the vast wealth allegedly accumulated by the Mubarak family and inner circle would remain in their hands.
     
    But some opponents of the old government felt there would, ultimately, be justice for the victims of the uprising.
     
    Abdel Basset el Fasheni, who works with the Al Azhar Institute, said the blood of the martyrs, whether Muslim or Christian, is the responsibility of all Egyptians.  "If we're not accountable in this life, we will be in front of God," he noted.

    Sharp divide

    El Fasheni's sentiments reflect the sharp divide many feel about the future of the country, as voters must choose who will succeed Mubarak.  The second round of voting for a new president pits Islamist Mohamed Morsi against Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.

    Shafiq has defended the former president, and his commander-in-chief during his long tenure in the Air Force.  But as the crowds grew Saturday and other political leaders condemned the trial, Shafiq was moved to promise that, if elected, he would not pardon his former boss.

    Related video report by Jeff Seldin


    * Follow VOA's Elizabeth Arrott on Twitter @VOAArrott

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Harry Kuheim from: Washington State
    June 02, 2012 10:13 PM
    There is no end to the Blood Feuds and Religious Wars in any Islamic Country

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora