Egypt court adjourns Mubarak trial

Court proceedings to resume on January 2 in murder case against the deposed Egyptian president.

Mubarak trial
A few dozens of anti-Mubarak protesters gathered outside the police academy [Adam Makary]

The trial of the deposed Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, has been adjourned until January 2.

It resumed in Cairo on Wednesday after a months-long break, with state television showing Mubarak – dressed in white and covered in a blanket – being wheeled out of an ambulance on a stretcher.

More than 5,000 policemen were deployed to secure the proceedings held at a police academy in the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.


 Jamal Elshayyal reports from outside the court in Cairo

A few pro-Mubarak supporters held banners of the former president, while families of the victims that died in protests carried pictures of their deceased relatives.

“The trial is a sham and the gang still rules,” the families chanted.

Wednesday’s session was brief; the next session is set for January 2.

Mubarak, 83, risks the death sentence if he is found to have been complicit in the killings of about 850 people who died during protests that overthrew him in February.

Most of the testimonies, including from police officers, have so far distanced Mubarak from any orders to shoot at the protesters.

Next in line to witness is chief of staff Lieutenant-General Sami Hafez Anan, the second-highest ranking official in the ruling military council.

His testimony has been demanded by both the prosecution and the defence, but his expected appearance in court on Wednesday was postponed due to a technicality.  

“Because the trial had been adjourned for more than 100 days, the court order demanding that he comes must be renewed,” Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from outside the court, said. “So today’s session is most likely going to be more of a procedural one.

“But regardless of what happens, many people hope the resumption will bring about some peace and calm to the capital, which has been gripped with violence for the past few months.”

Political turmoil

Since the trial was adjourned, Egypt has been thrown into renewed turmoil with deadly clashes between the army and people protesting against the military rulers who took over when the long-time president stepped down.

Lawyers supporting the former president are hoping to clear his name in court.

Yussri Abdel Razek, who heads the defence committee – which includes four Kuwaiti lawyers – said on Tuesday he had obtained “new documents that will prove Mubarak’s innocence”.

Mubarak, who is in custody in a Cairo military hospital, also faces charges of corruption, together with his two sons Alaa and Gamal.

Habib al-Adly, Mubarak’s interior minister, and six security chiefs are also on trial for their role in quelling the protests.

The trial came to a halt when lawyers representing those killed asked that presiding judge Ahmed Refaat be replaced, a request that was subsequently rejected on December 7.

Mubarak’s first hearing on August 3 was broadcast live on television, but Refaat soon ordered the cameras out.

In the last hearing in September, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads Egypt’s ruling military council, gave his testimony under a total media blackout.

Journalists were barred from the court and forbidden to report any leaked details of his testimony.

Attention from Mubarak’s fate has later been diverted to the first post-revolution legislative elections which begun on November 28, in which Islamists have emerged as front-runners.

Mubarak resigned on February 11 after a popular uprising against his three-decades-long rule.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies