News / Africa

Key Egyptian Trial Postponed, Further Raising Tensions

Egypt's former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, front, stands behind bars during his trial on charges relating to the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising, Cairo, Egypt, July 25, 2011
Egypt's former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, front, stands behind bars during his trial on charges relating to the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising, Cairo, Egypt, July 25, 2011
Al Pessin

An Egyptian court has postponed the murder trial of the former interior minister, and ordered that the man be tried together with former President Hosni Mubarak. The move is likely to further inflame protesters in Tahrir Square, who are already dissatisfied with the pace of the trials, and other aspects of the ruling military council's policies.

Related video clip: Egypt tensions

A judge read the order live on nationwide television as many Egyptians tuned in to the broadcast of the highly-anticipated opening of the trial.  Some people in the courtroom shouted their disapproval of the postponement.

The court order says former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly will be tried together with former President Mubarak.  That trial is scheduled to begin August 3, but many experts believe that, too, will be postponed.

Former minister al-Adly has already been convicted of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in prison.  As he left the court Monday in a police convoy, protesters pelted the vehicles with stones.

Both he and Mubarak are accused of murder for allegedly ordering the police to fire on demonstrators during the 18-day uprising in January and February, when hundreds of people were killed.

Tarek El-Khouly, a spokesman for one of the leading activist groups, the April 6th Movement, accused the court of acting just like Egyptian courts did during the 30-year Mubarak era - taking its orders from the top, now the ruling military council.

El-Khouly says the activists want to know the reasons for the postponement because such trials are crucial to the success of the revolution and the future of the country.  He called for al-Adly, Mubarak and other high-profile defendants to be treated just like all others accused of crimes.

Still, just seeing the once powerful interior minister and six of his top aides in prison uniforms behind bars in the defendants’ box of a courtroom met one of the protesters’ demands.  They have called for open trials, and some have complained they have not seen key former officials since they were arrested.

Mubarak had been under house arrest in his home in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, and has been in a hospital there since April.  There are indications his trial may be held in that relatively remote town, five hours drive from Cairo, rather than in the capital.

Many observers speculate the Mubarak trial will be postponed due to his reportedly poor health, and also because Egypt’s current military rulers do not want to humiliate their former boss.

In addition, the trial is scheduled to start during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan, when observant Muslims fast during daylight hours.  During Ramadan, relatively little work gets done, particularly when it falls during the hot summer months as it does this year.

The delay of the al-Adly trial, and the possible delay of the Mubarak trial, will likely further anger activists, and could exacerbate the splits that are emerging among protest groups.

An incident Saturday night, when protesters led by the April 6th movement were attacked by government supporters while policemen and soldiers stood by, resulted in harsh rhetoric from both sides, and sniping from some other activist groups.  One Islamist group accused April 6th of inciting the violence.

The Egyptian Center for Human Rights called on the military council to be more responsive to protesters’ demands, and called on the various activist groups to stop trying to undermine each other.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs