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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid