Anger as retrial of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak aborted

 

The retrial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
collapsed today when the presiding judge withdrew from the case
and referred it to another court, causing an indefinite adjournment that
sparked anger in the courtroom.

"The people demand the execution of Mubarak!" relatives of demonstrators killed in the 2011 uprising that overthrew him chanted in court after presiding Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah announced the decision at the opening session.

Outside the heavily guarded compound, pro-Mubarak demonstrators outnumbered opponents. The two groups were kept well apart by a police cordon and there were no incidents.

Mubarak, 84, who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years before being toppled by 18 days of Arab Spring pro-democracy unrest, waved and smiled to supporters from the defendants' cage in the courtroom before the brief hearing began.

He was flown by helicopter from a military hospital where he has been detained to the police academy used as a courthouse, and wheeled from an ambulance into the building lying on a hospital trolley wearing a white tracksuit.

Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and four top aides face a retrial for complicity in the murder of more than 800 protesters after the highest appeals court accepted appeals by both the defence and the prosecution in January. Two other senior interior ministry officials face lesser charges.

But the judge, who like most of the current judiciary was appointed under Mubarak, said he had decided to refer the case to the Cairo appeals court as he felt "unease" in reviewing the case. He did not explain his decision further.

He has previously acquitted top former Mubarak era officials on charges of orchestrating violence when pro-democracy activists were attacked by thugs riding on camels in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

"We ask for the harshest possible sentence on Mubarak due to the cruel crimes he committed against the protesters, but we are happy with the judge's decision to withdraw as we had worries about him given his ruling (on) the camel attack case," said Mohamed Abdel Wahab, a lawyer for the victims.

It was the first time Mubarak, who wore gold-rimmed aviator sunglasses in court, had been seen in public since he and Adli were convicted last June on grounds of failing to stop the killing, rather than actually ordering it.

Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were also in court to be retried on separate charges of financial corruption.

Propped up on a gurney in a cage with the other defendants, he looked fitter and more relaxed than on previous appearances in the dock, holding animated conversations with his son Gamal, and occasionally smiling and waving to people in the courtroom.

Prosecutors accuse Mubarak of giving orders to Adli to open fire with live ammunition against protesters to suppress demonstrations across the Arab world's most populous country.

Mubarak and his interior minister were sentenced to life imprisonment at their first trial but the appeals court upheld complaints stemming from the weakness of the evidence offered by the prosecution.

Outside the court, pro-Mubarak demonstrators chanted "thirty years without destruction!" in reference to accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood movement which won free elections after his ouster are destroying the country.

"The word 'sorry' is not enough!" the pro-Mubarak crowd chanted. Some held posters of Mubarak and signs reading "Where are your days?"

"Look at the country now," said a supporter who gave his name as Ibrahim. "When Mubarak fell, there were $40 billion (in foreign reserves). And now after two years, we are going bankrupt. The whole country is suffering from this economic crisis, from this lack of security."

Across the square, relatives of victims of Mubarak's security forces held posters of young men killed in the revolt.

"What can I expect from this trial? If there was justice in this country, the first trial would have been fair," said Eman Saeed, whose 24-year old son Mohab died in January 2011 after marching from the working-class district of Shobra to Tahrir Square. Saeed said Mohab died from bullet wounds to the chest.

Mubarak became the first ruler toppled by the Arab Spring uprisings to stand trial in person. But the case has also exposed the difficulties of transitional justice in a country where the judiciary and security forces are still largely run by men appointed during the Mubarak era.

The prosecution complained that the interior ministry had failed to cooperate in providing evidence, leading to the acquittal of six senior ministry officials tried with Mubarak.

The trial irked Gulf Arab rulers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, of whom the former air force commander had been a loyal ally for decades.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

Year 4 Teacher required for 2 terms

£21500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Accounts Assistant - Sales Ledger, Sage Line 50 - St Albans

£20000 - £22000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and w...

EBD Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?