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