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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid