Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1229, (15 -21 January 2015)
Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Issue 1229, (15 -21 January 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Giving chase

Civil society groups and political parties are taking steps to put former Mubarak regime figures on trial, reports Ahmed Morsy

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Civil Democratic Current, a group of liberal and leftist political parties, has extended its month-old campaign, dubbed “Try Them,” which aims to ensure the retrial of ousted former president Hosni Mubarak and members of his regime on charges of “political and financial corruption that affected national security.”

The Current includes Al-Dostour Party, Social Popular Alliance Party, Popular Current, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Al-Karama Party, Freedom Egypt Party and Al-Adl Party.

The campaign was launched after an Egyptian criminal court dropped charges of complicity in killing protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster against Mubarak on 29 November, in addition to clearing him of corruption charges.

“The Egyptian people issued their verdict against the corruption of the tyrant Mubarak and his regime in the form of the great Revolution that swept the country,” a statement released by the Current read. It condemned the court ruling that dropped the charges against Mubarak.

Though the campaign appeared to be in response to the acquittal of Mubarak, a legal advisor to the Current and member of its legal committee Tarek Negeida said that the campaign had not been launched as a reaction to this event alone.

“The campaign doesn’t only relate to the retrial of Mubarak, but also is concerned that many figures from his regime have not been prosecuted. It is concerned with all the political and financial corruption that occurred during the 33 years of Mubarak’s rule,” Negeida told the Weekly.

Among the signatories to the campaign’s petition are former minister of social solidarity Ahmed Al-Borai, chairwoman of Al-Dostour Party Hala Shukrallah, spokesperson of Al-Dostour Khaled Dawoud, prominent activist and party leader George Ishaq, chairman of Al-Karama Party Mohamed Sami and chairman of Al-Adl Party Hamdi Al-Sotoohi.

On 2 December, Prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat ordered an appeal against the court verdict that dropped the charges against Mubarak. In a statement, Barakat said a committee of prosecutors had concluded that the verdict had “legal flaws” and, consequently, they would submit appeal documents to the Court of Cassation.

Under Egyptian law appeal documents must be submitted to the Court of Cassation within 60 days of a verdict.

The Civil Democratic Current called upon the prosecution-general to ensure that the appeal against Mubarak was presented before the Court in a proper fashion. The demand was seemingly because the judge in the criminal court had justified his verdict dropping the charges against Mubarak by saying that “the prosecution’s earlier decision on 23 March 2011 to charge Mubarak lacked the legal basis to bring a criminal case against him.”

“We will provide a memorandum supporting the reasons behind the appeal, which will be submitted by the prosecution to the Court of Cassation. In addition, we will also attach a copy of the summary of the report of the fact-finding committee established in 2011 and headed by the former president of the Court of Cassation judge Adel Koura,” Negeida said.

He claimed that only a summary of Koura’s report had been included in the earlier court papers and that the full report had not been properly reviewed.

In April 2011, the fact-finding committee set up to investigate the events of the 25 January Revolution released its report at a press conference at which the committee’s secretary-general, Omar Marwan, stressed that former interior minister Habib Al-Adli would have to have obtained the approval of Mubarak before deciding to give the order to shoot the demonstrators.

Mubarak had made no moves to hold those shooting on the crowds accountable, which confirmed his involvement and responsibility, Marwan said.

Various political groups and commentators have called for the enacting of a law against corruption in political life, an amendment to the treason law issued after the 1952 Revolution that toppled the former monarchy.

According to experts, many figures from the former Mubarak regime associated with poll-rigging, corruption and a sharp deterioration in public services should be put on trial on charges of political corruption.

“In addition to the 18 days of events that followed the 25 January Revolution, almost all the crimes committed during Mubarak’s era were criminal offences of a political nature. For example, rigging elections is a political crime and is criminally punishable,” Negeida said.

“We don’t need new legislation to put Mubarak and the figures from his regime on trial as the criminal law and the Revolution Protection Law of 2012 are already sufficient to do so.”

The campaign has been targeting all sectors of the population to sign its petition calling for retrials, and it has been calling upon the revolutionary and political youth movements to cooperate. However, the Tamarod Movement and the Alliance of Revolutionary Forces say that they have not been contacted by the campaign.

“They have not coordinated with us, but we intend to join efforts with them,” Haitham Al-Shawaf, coordinator of the Alliance of Revolutionary Forces, told the Weekly. He added that demands for the prosecution of corrupt former officials would result in greater citizen participation.

Dawoud said that the petition is open to all political parties and youth movements that believe in the goals of the 25 January Revolution — bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.

“The parties involved will open their offices across Egypt to distribute the petition and collect the signatures of the millions of Egyptians who took part in the 25 January Revolution and continue to defend its goals,” Dawoud said.

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