The retrial of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former president, over his role in the deaths of protesters during the country’s uprising has been adjourned to June 8 till the presiding judge has gone through the new evidence.
Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly, and six security chiefs faced court again over their role in the murder and attempted murder of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators between January 25 and January 31, 2011.
The fresh retrial was originally scheduled on April 13, but Judge Mostafa Hassan Abdallah excused himself from proceedings in an opening session on Saturday that lasted just seconds.
Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa are being retried on corruption charges along with their father. Businessman Hussein Salem is being tried in absentia.
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from outside the courthouse in Cairo, said the prosecutor listed out the charges of corruption and murder at Saturday’s hearing. All defendants have denied the accusations addressed to them by the public prosecutor in the session and pleaded not guilty.
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Rageh added that public interest in the trial seems to be waning as the number of opponents and supporters attending appear to be fewer than the previous hearing.
She said that the new judge seems to be taking a softer and kinder approach to the case and has allowed new evidence to be submitted.
The ousted leader was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in June last year over his involvement in the deaths of 846 people during the country’s revolution.
But Egypt’s highest court ordered a retrial after it accepted Mubarak’s appeal on grounds of procedural failings.
Egyptians remain polarised by the former leader who was deposed in 2011, as the country struggles to move forward under the new government of President Mohamed Morsi, elected in June.
The country remains in disarray, with Morsi’s tenure marked by political polarisation, repeated violence between political opponents and a crippling economic crisis.
Umm Moaz, who lost her son during the uprising, sees Mubarak’s new trial as a sham and has given up on justice ever being served.
“At this time, I don’t trust anyone, not even the court overseeing the retrial. I have no hope that they will ensure justice for my son or any martyr. My whole life has been turned upside down,” she told the AFP news agency.
Supporters of the former regime have also taken to the streets.
Soraya Hanafi, who still believes Mubarak was a great leader, said: “After two years, I really want to hear the arguments of the victims’ lawyers and what they will say.
“What new evidence will they use to retry Mubarak? And what are his sons guilty of? They didn’t kill anyone or give orders to kill.”
Mubarak, who turned 85 last week, attended the trial at the police academy that once bore his name on the outskirts of Cairo.
Last month, he was transferred to prison from a military hospital after the public prosecutor ordered the move because his health was deemed stable.
After months of rumours that Mubarak was at death’s door, footage of him looking strong and defiant and waving at supporters in court had stunned and angered many.