News / Middle East

Egypt's Mubarak Judge Recuses Himself

Egyptian medics and army personnel escort former President Hosni Mubarak from a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following a hearing in his retrial in Cairo, April 13, 2013.Egyptian medics and army personnel escort former President Hosni Mubarak from a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following a hearing in his retrial in Cairo, April 13, 2013.
x
Egyptian medics and army personnel escort former President Hosni Mubarak from a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following a hearing in his retrial in Cairo, April 13, 2013.
Egyptian medics and army personnel escort former President Hosni Mubarak from a helicopter ambulance after it landed at Maadi Military Hospital following a hearing in his retrial in Cairo, April 13, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
A court session to retry former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ended abruptly Saturday when the judge handed the case back to an appeals court. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison last year in a case that was later overturned by another court.

Presiding Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah told the trial session that he was recusing himself and handing Mubarak's case back to an appeals court.

A loud clamor overtook the courtroom after the abrupt decision and some protesters chanted slogans against the former president. The reaction, however, was muted compared to trial sessions last year, when supporters and opponents of Mubarak threw bottles and spat at each other in the courtroom.

The former president, dressed in a white track suit and looking confident, waved at supporters before the session got under way. He was surrounded in the dock by his two sons and several former aides, who are also on trial.

Outside the police academy, where the court session was being held, brief skirmishes broke out between supporters of the former president and a group of opponents. Police quickly broke up clashes, which were fairly minor compared to previous incidents.

A verdict to convict former President Mubarak in a first trial last year was overturned by an appellate court. Mubarak received a life sentence for failing to protect protesters against violence during an uprising which overthrew him.

Veteran Egyptian editor and publisher Hisham Kassem points out that the initial case that convicted the former president was weak due to procedural issues.

"We have a case that is very shabby procedurally," he said. "Very little evidence has been submitted. Clearly a crime has been committed, but a judge needs evidence to be presented. Otherwise, he would have to violate due process... and this was clearly the case in the first verdict, where the judge sentenced him for failing to protect the demonstrators, as opposed to giving out orders to murder them."

Kassem says that Judge Abdullah may have recused himself because he is nearing retirement and the Mubarak case may have appeared long and daunting. It is not immediately clear what the Egyptian judiciary will do with the case from here.

Mubarak is being held at a military hospital in a Cairo suburb. A small crowd of supporters chanted slogans as a helicopter brought him back from the court.

Hisham Kassem notes that  Mubarak had a big smile on his face "as if to say, 'are you happy now? If you did not like my [way of ruling], I hope you like President [Mohamed] Morsi's.'"

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
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.

VOA Blogs