News / Africa

Mubarak Trial to Begin Wednesday in Egypt

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (file photo)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (file photo)

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

Egyptian officials are making last-minute preparations for the televised trial of ex- President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and several other former top officials. The possibility of the ex-leader facing justice is something many thought would never happen, and a few believe may still not.

Egyptian media have a long tradition of special dramatic programming for the month of Ramadan, but few broadcasts have been so anticipated as the trial of Mubarak set to begin Wednesday on the outskirts of Cairo.

Related video report by Jeffrey Young:

"I personally will make sure that I am in front of a tv screen," said publisher Hisham Kassem, a prominent critic of the former government. "I think it is going to have the highest viewership this country has had on tv and possibly regionally."  

If the trial goes according to script, Mubarak, his influential sons Gamal and Alaa, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six security officials will appear in court locked in an iron cage.  

They face charges of ordering the killing of more than 800 protesters during the uprising that forced the end of the Mubarak government in February, as well as massive financial corruption.

The possibility of the 83-year-old so humbled in a cage, customary in such trials, has prompted speculation it could provoke sympathy for the one-time military hero and ruler of Egypt for nearly 30 years.   

But on the streets of Cairo, some argue the seriousness of the alleged crimes wipes away any such sentiments.  

As the army this week cleared out the last remnants of another protest in Tahrir Square, one man nearby said he hoped Mubarak gets the strongest sentence possible - the death penalty.  

"He killed many people," he said. "He killed Egypt.  He killed Egypt for thirty years.  He was a big killer and a thief."  

But the Cairo resident says he's worried that Mubarak might not even be there, depriving the spectacle of its key actor.  Others worry that the trial could be postponed.

Aides to the former president contend he is very ill, and cannot move from the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh where he retreated after the uprising.  The government has given mixed signals about his attendance, but several top officials insist he will be present and say the massive security precautions around the temporary courtroom are proof of that intent.  

Perceptions that the army leadership could yet still protect the Mubaraks, combined with frustrations at the slow pace of reforms and continued economic hardships, have chipped away at the military's popularity in recent months.     

But not all are distrustful.  A motorist circling Tahrir, where the now-removed protesters had hoped to keep pressure on the government during the trial, stopped to say such demonstrations aren't necessary.  

He says he's had enough with the protests, and argues it's time to look after the country's interests.   He says the state has made it clear it intends to move forward, and points to the trial as an example.  A soldier reinforces the idea of establishing order, scolding the driver for blocking traffic.  

Publisher Kassem believes the court proceedings will provide a sense of relief, an indication that things are really changing, not just for Egyptians, but for people across the region.  

"With the revolutionaries and the countries where there was uprising, it is going to be a serious boost for them seeing that one of the most powerful dictators in the region is finally behind bars and brought down by his own people," he said.

Kassem has faith that the judiciary will act fairly during the trial, describing the judge as a man with a clean record, devoid of political-inclined rulings.   And the decision of the military government to broadcast the proceedings means Kassem, and millions of others, can see if it stays on track.

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

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid