News / Africa

    Judge Adjourns Mubarak Trial, Stops Live TV Broadcasts

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gestures in the courtroom during his trial at the police academy in Cairo, August 15, 2011
    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gestures in the courtroom during his trial at the police academy in Cairo, August 15, 2011

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    Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, will be tried together with his interior minister, a merging of cases that had been demanded by anti-government protesters. The judge in the case also announced that future proceedings will not be broadcast live.

    On the scene report by Elizabeth Arrott


    Judge Ahmed Refaat said Monday that when the trial resumes next month, the proceedings will take place behind closed doors, a move he said was in the interest of the public.    

    Some limit on the proceedings was expected once witnesses began to testify. But a complete ban on televised proceedings until sentencing seemed to contradict a pledge by the military government to hold an open and transparent trial.

    Streamlined trial

    Less controversial was the judge's decision to combine the case of Mubarak with that of his former interior minister, Habib al Adly. Supporters and opponents of the ex-president welcomed the move, with its promise to streamline the process in terms of evidence and testimony.  

    Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges they ordered the killing of protesters during the anti-government uprising earlier this year. If convicted, Mubarak and Adly could face the death penalty.  

    This was the former president's second appearance in court and he was again wheeled in on a stretcher. His sons Gamal and Alaa, who have denied charges of corruption, were at his side.    

    Supporters outraged

    The image of the 83-year-old former leader confined to a courtroom cage outraged his supporters who had gathered outside. Selwa Assoubi, a Cairo lawyer, believes the court will find in favor of Mubarak, whom she considers a hero.  

    Assoubi says the former president didn't go the way of the crackdowns in Syria and Libya, adding Mubarak stepped down with dignity.  

    But others in the crowd disagreed, and the two sides clashed briefly, with rocks thrown and riot police intervening.  

    Fawzi Ashour is among those who hope Mubarak receives the death penalty.  

    He says the man who betrays his nation - who kills it - it's not fair that he lives. Ashour stood outside the courthouse holding a picture of his son, Mohammed. The 13-year-old was one of the more than 800 people killed during the uprising.  

    The trial is set to resume September 5, following the holy month of Ramadan.

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