Egyptian television has shown live images of the trial of two of Hosni Mubarak’s ministers, the first such broadcast aimed at placating protesters who have demanded greater transparency in holding the former president’s allies to account.
Anas el-Fekky, the former Information Minister, and Osama el-Sheikh, the former head of the Egypt TV and Radio Union, are accused of corruption and squandering public funds.
A judge ordered on July 12 that cameras be allowed into sessions. Some recorded images were shown of a trial of another minister on Saturday, but Monday’s session was the first live broadcast.
The trials of Mubarak’s former associates are regarded by many as a credibility test for the military council that took power after his downfall.
Fekky was detained in February on suspicion of profiteering and wasting public funds.
The prosecutor charged Fekky with depriving the Radio and Television Union, which he ran as minister, of about $1.9m in profits by exempting private television stations from fees for live broadcasts of the 2009-2010 football season and the start of the 2010-2011 season.
It said Fekky had done this to further his “personal interests as part of an attempt to impose his control and media policies on these stations”.
In response to the judge’s questioning on the charges, Fekky said: “It’s not true, sir.”
Fekky’s trial was adjourned until September 18, while Sheikh’s trial was adjourned until Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s new cabinet is set to be sworn in after a reshuffle by Essam Sharraf, the prime minister, that protesters say has only partially satisfied their demands for deeper political and economic reforms.
Sharraf was taken to hospital on Monday after suffering from exhaustion.
Rabab el Mehdi, a politics professor at the American University in Cairo, said: “For one they kept some of the ministers who served under Mubarak, like the minister of international co-operation and environment, secondly the new appointments also included names from the NDP [the former ruling party], like the minister of education.”
Protesters, who have camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square since July 8, say they want further measures, including a quicker trial of Mubarak, who was ousted as president on February 11 in a popular uprising and is set to go on trial on August 3.