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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid