Egypt sets Mubarak trial verdict date

Judge to rule on June 2 in case in which the deposed president stands accused of ordering the deaths of protesters.

    If convicted, Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six security chiefs could receive the death penalty [AFP]

    The verdict in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian president, will be delivered on June 2, according to the judge presiding over the case.

    News agencies quoted Judge Ahmed Refaat as saying during Wednesday's hearing: "We have vowed to speak the truth. We are committed to this vow.

    "It is a commitment that justice and truth will be our constitution."

    The prosecution has called for the death penalty for Mubarak, who turned down a chance to address the court in the final session.

    If convicted Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six security chiefs could receive the death penalty for ordering the deaths of protesters during the uprising that toppled Mubarak a year ago.

    Adly addressed the court for more than an hour and a half, speaking of a "conspiracy" against Egypt, state television said.

    He defended himself and the police against the charge of murder, drawing applause from some police officers standing at the back of the courtroom.

    Adly said "foreigners" had killed the protesters, and that they had climbed on the rooftops of buildings and shot them. He blamed Hezbollah, a Lebanese political group, and Hamas, a Palestinian political group, for sending infiltrators, and said the plot against Egypt was continuing to this day.

    Corruption charges

    Mubarak shares the defendants' cage with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who face corruption charges along with their father.

    State television reported that prosecutors told Refaat that the medical wing of Cairo's Tora prison was ready to receive Mubarak, following mounting calls to move him from hospital to prison.

    The trial was supposed to be a historic moment when Mubarak is brought to justice by his people, but it has been widely criticised as little more than political theatre.

    The case is legally weak, lawyers say, charging that the prosecution has taken to the microphone to deliver sermons rather than hard evidence.

    The trial itself, which began in August, has been plagued by interuptions in the form of a short investigation period, brief hearings, a three-month hiatus, incomplete testimonies and a speedy ending, the lawyers said.

    Activists say they would have rather seen Mubarak tried for abuses and mismanagement committed during his 30 years in power than for events that took place during a few days of the uprising.

    Egypt's governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has been the target of protesters' anger in the past months over accusations of mismanagement and human rights abuses.

    More than 850 people were killed and thousands more were injured during the 18 days of mass nationwide protests that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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