News / Africa

Egypt's Mubarak Pleads 'Not Guilty' in Historic 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.

Egypt's deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, wheeled into a Cairo courtroom in a hospital bed, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ordered the killing of some 850 revolutionary protesters who drove him from power in an 18-day February uprising. After Wednesday's dramatic session, the judge in the case adjourned the trial until August 15.

The 83-year-old former president, who also is charged with corruption, is the first Arab leader to face trial in person since the so-called "Arab Spring" of popular revolts swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East this year.

Mr. Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal - co-defendants in the case - stood next to their father inside the courtroom's large metal cage and spoke with him during the opening session. Both men denied separate corruption charges against them. Other defendants include Mr. Mubarak's former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, six senior police commanders and a prominent businessman (Hussein Salem), who is being tried in absentia. They are scheduled to appear before the court again Thursday.

Mr. Mubarak, al-Adly and the six policemen could be sentenced to death if convicted. The former president also is charged with abuse of power and squandering public wealth.

The trial took an unexpected turn when Mr. Mubarak's lawyers requested that the head of the military council now ruling Egypt, a former intelligence chief and 1,600 others testify. They argued that Egypt's army chief and head of state, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, effectively "took control" of the country after January 28, when troops were deployed in the streets of Cairo.

News channels around the world broadcast the start of the historic trial. Tens of millions throughout the Arab world watched the spectacle on live television, including many Egyptians who saw their ruler of nearly 30 years clad in a prisoner's white robes and reclining on a gurney.

Crowds also gathered outside the courthouse to watch on a large television screen. At one point, supporters and opponents of Mr. Mubarak threw rocks at one another.

Egypt's judiciary moved the location of the trial to the Cairo Police Academy for security reasons.

The former president had been living under house arrest with his family at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where aides say he has been in poor health since leaving office.  At the close of Wednesday's session, the judge ordered that Mr. Mubarak stay at a local hospital in Cairo for the duration of the proceedings.

The trial came only after heavy pressure from activists on Egypt's ruling military council. Up to the last minute, many Egyptians had doubted Mr. Mubarak would actually appear in court, expecting health issues would be used as an excuse for him to stay away.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs