News / Africa

Mubarak Trial to Begin Wednesday in Egypt

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

Multimedia

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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid