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Ahram Online - Mubarak trial verdict Saturday: What could Egyptians expect?

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  • Paul
    Ahram Online - Friday, 01 June 2012 Mubarak trial verdict Saturday: What could Egyptians expect? The long-awaited verdict in Hosni Mubarak s trial on murder
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1 1:07 AM
      Ahram Online - Friday, 01 June 2012

      Mubarak trial verdict Saturday: What could Egyptians expect?
      The long-awaited verdict in Hosni Mubarak's trial on murder and
      corruption charges will be delivered Saturday; for many Egyptians, an
      acquittal or a light sentence could be the final knife in the
      revolution's back
      Lina El-Wardani , Thursday 31 May 2012


      The verdict in the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak is expected
      Saturday, and it's a decision that could profoundly influence the future
      of Egypt's unfinished revolution. Despite this, many Egyptians are
      unaware that the verdict is imminent due to the focus on the country's
      first post-revolution presidential election.
      Mubarak, along with former interior minister Habib El-Adly and six of
      the latter's assistants, are accused of instructing subordinates to fire
      on unarmed protesters during the 18 days of Egypt's revolution. The
      ousted president, along with his two sons and runaway businessman
      Hussein Salem, also faces a host of corruption charges.

      What are the charges against Mubarak?

      Mubarak is charged with complicity in the murder and attempted murder of
      hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Cairo, Alexandria,
      Suez, and other governorates between 25 and 31 January 2011.

      He is also charged with accepting a bribe from Hussein Salem, a resort
      developer, to exploit his influence and facilitate land concessions in
      Sharm El-Sheikh for a company owned by Salem.

      In addition, Mubarak is charged with being an accomplice to the former
      petroleum minister, Sameh Fahmy, in improperly authorising another
      Salem-controlled company, the East Mediterranean Gas Company, to export
      Egyptian natural gas to Israel at artificially low prices, granting an
      illicit benefit to Salem's company and short-changing the public coffers.

      Ahram Online spoke to relatives of protesters killed during the
      revolution to gauge their views on the trial and Saturday's expected

      The story of a martyr

      Abu-Ghenima Abul-Oeyoun, 49, is the father of Mohammed, 20, who was
      killed in Tahrir Square on 28 January, the so-called Day of Rage that
      saw the police defeated by tens of thousands of unarmed protesters.
      Abul-Oeyoun expects Mubarak to be acquitted.

      "Lawyers tell us he will be convicted, but with the current situation,
      and Shafiq's [Mubarak's last premier] sudden emergence to prominence, I
      don't think so," said Abul-Oeyoun.

      "On 25 January, my son Muhammad joined the protest in Tahrir Square. I
      only found out later and when I tried to stop him going again after
      Friday prayers on 28 January he insisted. His final words to me were: 'I
      am not less than the others. For God’s sake if you really love me, let
      me go'. I opened my mouth but couldn’t find a reply or move my feet to
      prevent him. I let him go and never saw him again.

      "He didn't return home that night, so I looked for him everywhere and
      searched almost every hospital. Then on Sunday I got a phone call from
      his own mobile phone telling me the news. He was lying dead in Qasr
      El-Ainy hospital with a bullet in his head and one in his side.

      "His friends said he was in Tahrir Square throwing empty tear gas
      canisters at the police. Then a friend of his fell to the ground, so my
      son, who was well built, went to help him. And as he bent to lift him,
      he was killed instantly by two sniper's bullets.

      "When I saw him at the morgue three days later his body was still tender
      and soft and he had an unforgettable smile on his face."

      Abul-Oeyoun attends regular meetings with other martyrs' relatives. They
      have watched every session of the trial with mounting anger.

      "All the policemen on trial for killing protesters are getting let off
      or receiving light sentences. The latest is Mohammed El-Sunni who
      earlier received the death sentence but on appeal got five years. If
      this happens to Mubarak another revolution is coming - a bloodier one,”
      said Abul-Oeyoun, adding that no one could blame the families of martyrs
      if they went to Mubarak's hospital bed and took “justice for [their]
      sons with [their] bare hands.”

      For Abul-Oeyoun and the families of over 800 slain protesters, there is
      only one acceptable verdict: the death penalty.

      "This dictator [Mubarak] is guilty of destroying the nation and killing
      the people – not just the protesters. His corruption and tyranny over
      thirty years buried us alive.”

      People on the streets

      When Ahram Online spoke to people in Cairo about the trial, most had
      forgotten about it and were unaware the verdict was due on Saturday.

      Amr Tharwat, a 28-year-old waiter and father of an eight-month-old
      child, expects a verdict of not guilty and another wave of protests and

      "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will protect Mubarak. I
      feel that he is still in power; he lives like a king in a 5-star spa,
      whilst the majority of people live in misery. I've started thinking
      about leaving the country; not for myself but for my child."

      Tharwat voted for Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi in the presidential
      poll's first round and doesn't know what to do in the runoffs.

      Heba Kamel, a 42-year-old doctor, expects a guilty verdict and a life
      sentence, “to absorb the people's anger, give people trust in the
      military and pave the way for Shafiq, but I expect him to be freed on

      Activists fearful

      Baho Abdullah of the Popular Socialist Alliance Party predicts a guilty
      verdict and a prison sentence of at least ten years to absorb the
      street's anger and pave the way for Shafiq to the presidency, but later
      for an acquittal on appeal.

      Political activist Akram Youssef agreed with Abdullah that Mubarak would
      receive a medium to heavy sentence, because, “the army sometimes likes
      to appear politically correct, like when it let Mubarak’s last vice
      president Omar Suleiman enter the presidential race then kicked him out
      at the last minute to show that the state was unbiased and that the law

      But Youssef said the inconsistency of the SCAF’s decisions leaves the
      door open for all scenarios.

      “He may get acquitted, in which case people will be extremely angry, but
      they will not express their anger in massive protests because everyone
      is busy with the elections,” said Youssef.

      However, if Mubarak is convicted it could leave the revolutionaries and
      the people even more perplexed.

      "Imagine if he gets 25 years, what is going to happen? The SCAF has all
      the political keys – the judiciary is not independent and nor is the
      prosecution and every state institution,” said Youssef.

      Lawyers pessimistic

      Amir Salem is a lawyer for victims in Mubarak's case and has attended
      every session of the trial. When Ahram Online spoke to him in February
      he was optimistic. The case was strong and the evidence powerful, and
      the least Mubarak could expect was a life sentence, he said

      As the verdict approaches, Salem is no longer confident.

      "I only expect a guilty verdict in the corruption and illicit
      profiteering case, which could result in a three to seven year jail
      sentence, and he will continue to live in the lavish hospital where he's
      currently residing," said Salem.

      "I'm worried that everyone is busy with the elections and isn't talking
      about Mubarak's trial anymore," he added.

      Salem still thinks the case is strong and prosecution has plenty of

      "As president, head of state, head of the military, head of the police
      etc, Mubarak was the only one authorised to give orders to kill
      protesters, followed by the interior minister. Therefore, it's only
      logical that he is guilty. But I don't think this case is about the law
      – it is purely political. In the current political situation, the
      National Democratic Party (Mubarak's party) is back in action and the
      SCAF is backing Shafiq for president, so it doesn't look good."

      However, there is a third possible outcome, according to prominent legal
      expert Atef El-Banna. "The only logical thing in this situation is for
      the judge to postpone announcing the verdict until the political
      situation is stable enough."

      According to El-Banna, any legal verdict should not be the prey of
      political conflict, "and if the judge thinks the verdict can damage the
      stability of the country he can postpone what many see as a time bomb."
      Therefore, according to El-Banna's scenario Egyptians will have to wait
      a little longer to discover the fate of their former president.
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