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Inside Story
Have Egyptians been denied full justice?
As protesters rally in Tahrir Square, we ask if the acquittals of Mubarak-era officials will spark a second uprising.
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2012 13:40

Thousands of Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square a day after Hosni Mubarak, the former president, was sentenced to life in prison.

"This was a political decision. The legal grounds for the verdict are pretty shaky. The argument is that Mubarak didn't do enough to stop the killings not that he actually ordered them … but there is still a big question mark; who ordered the killings?"

- Shadi Hamid, the research director at the Brookings Doha Centre

Many had hoped the verdict would bring justice to those who died in last year's uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Almost 1,000 protesters were killed during the revolution. And the former president and Habib al-Adly, his then interior minister, received life sentences for complicity in the killings.

Mubarak was given a life sentence only because the judge ruled that he had failed to stop the killings.

But euphoria soon turned to anger when Mubarak's sons and the other senior officials were all acquitted.

A group of interior ministry and police officials were also charged with conspiring to kill protesters, but they were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, were charged with abusing their influence for personal gain. They were acquitted.

"The Muslim Brotherhood and the people we're together as part of the revolution; without the Muslim Brotherhood the Egyptian people were lacking something to push and without the people the Muslim Brotherhood in fact were imprisoned and in hazard under Mubarak."

- Abdallah Al-Ashaal, an international legal specialist

Thousands gathered in Cairo's main square to protest against the verdicts, while protesters also rallied in Alexandria and Suez.

All of this comes as the country prepares for a run-off vote on June 16-17 to elect its next president.

Mubarak is the first deposed Arab leader to be tried and convicted in his own country, but has Egypt failed to deliver full justice? And could popular anger at the verdicts spark a second revolution?

Joining Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, to discuss this are guests: Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a member of parliament and a leading member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood; Abdallah al-Ashaal, a professor of international law at the American University and the former deputy foreign affairs minister; and Shadi Hamid, the research director at the Brookings Doha Centre.

"Regime members wanted to play on the short memory of Egyptians but [these] are new Egyptians, after the revolution they are planning not to have any more corruption, any more oppression and they're going to be very conscious from now on."

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party


Human Rights Watch welcomed the verdict but condemned the acquittal of Egyptian police officials in a statement:
"The acquittal of four assistant ministers of interior on the grounds of insufficient evidence highlights the failure of the prosecution to fully investigate responsibility for the shooting of protesters in January 2011, giving a green light to future police abuse."

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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