Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mubarak's trial enters final day

After six months of hearings, the trial of Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak is expected to resume today for the last time. Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for over 30 years, denies ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him to resign.

The former veteran leader could face the death penalty if convicted, as could his co-defendants including, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six senior police officers.

Both of Mubarak's sons – Gamal and Alaa – are facing separate charges of corruption with their father in the same trial. Business tycoon, Hussein Salem, is also being tried in absentia. All the defendants deny wrongdoing.

The judge is expected to deliver his verdict at a later hearing.

In his closing remarks on Monday 20th February, chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said: "This is not a case about the killing of one or 10 or 20 civilians, but a case of an entire nation."

Suleiman told the court earlier that it was unlikely that Mubarak didn't give an order to the police to open fire on the protesters, especially because testimony collected from 2,000 witnesses, including police officers, suggested there were orders from above to arm security personnel with automatic rifles.

Defence lawyer Farid al-Deeb has counteracted the claim by saying that the army was, in fact, in charge of security when protesters were killed. He also noted that Mubarak had imposed a curfew on the afternoon of 28th January and transferred responsibility to the head of the army. He added that neither the police nor the interior ministry could therefore have been ordered to open fire on demonstrations.

Al-Deeb, however, did not shift the blame on the army or suggest it was the one to order the killings. He said it had denied ever firing on protesters, and that he believed "the army, because it does not lie".

On the last day of the trial, some of the defendants will be permitted to address the court, including Gamal Mubarak and Habib al-Adly. The verdicts, however, are not expected until next month due to the volume of documentation to be reviewed by the judge.

Sources: AFP, AP, BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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