News / Africa

Mubarak Trial Carries Many Uncertainties for Nervous Egypt

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak (File)
Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak (File)

Multimedia

Al Pessin

Egypt’s deposed President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to go on trial August 3 on corruption and murder charges related to his 30-year tenure and the crackdown on protesters during the revolution that ousted him in January and February.  The trial is an important step for Egypt, but also carries many uncertainties.

Egypt’s 18-day revolution was mostly peaceful.  But as the huge daily protests began to threaten to bring down the government, police and troops reacted with violence.

By the time Mr. Mubarak handed over power to a military council, anger was running high.  And it still is.

The anger spilled over into a violent clash July 23rd between supporters of the interim military government and protesters who say reforms are not happening quickly enough.


But state media quote Egypt's deputy justice minister as saying the trial will begin August 3, and be held at Cairo's convention center.

Those protesters marched out from the ongoing sit-in at Tahrir Square, the center of the revolution, where emotions still run high.

“There is a lot of things to be judged, a lot of things for those people to be convicted for, but there is nothing at all," said a protester. "They are just delaying the trials.  Delay, delays, delays.”

"We didn’t see justice," said another. "My friends die here but we didn’t see justice."

There is speculation the trial might be postponed because Mr. Mubarak has been ill.

But analysts say that would be a mistake.  Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim has written about Egyptian society for decades and was jailed several times for speaking out against the Mubarak regime.

“A trial under the public eye would itself serve a great, shall we say, cathartic function," said  Professor Ibrahim. "It will absorb a great deal of the tension that we have seen recently.”

But Professor Ibrahim is concerned that Egypt’s current military leaders may be reluctant to see their former boss in a defendant’s cage and, potentially, sentenced to death.

“Having appointed them, having them think of him as one of their senior colleagues," he said. "He was their commander in chief.  I don’t they’d like to see him humiliated because that reflects on the whole military.”

It’s a delicate balance for the top military officers -  satisfying people’s demands for justice while also safeguarding their own positions.

And editor Rania al-Malky of Daily News Egypt says there’s another issue.  She believes the Egyptian leaders are also under pressure from autocratic regimes elsewhere in the region, several of which have also faced large-scale protests.

“He would be the first Arab dictator ever to face this situation, I think, in the history of this region," said al-Malky. "So this is setting a very dangerous precedent maybe for other leaders who are afraid for themselves.”

But veteran journalist Hisham Kassem says there is more at stake than Mr. Mubarak's fate, or that of other leaders in the region.

“My real concern is that due process is observed because as we enter a new republic we have to uphold rule of law," said Kassem. "And Mubarak must get fair trial.
So, it mustn’t be a question of revenge, of getting back at Mubarak.”

People on Tahrir Square would like revenge, or at least justice, and they want it in a Mubarak trial starting Wednesday, as scheduled.  

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

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More