Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Mubarak faces retrial alone

The legal sagas of former president Hosni Mubarak, which began in August 2011, continue. Khaled Dawoud reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

On 4 June the Court of Cassation rejected an earlier acquittal and ruled Mubarak must face a retrial on charges related to the deaths of hundreds of peaceful protesters during the 18-day popular revolt that forced him from office on 11 February 2011. The trial is scheduled to open on 5 November.
The same court upheld the acquittal, issued by Cairo Criminal Court in November, of Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, former interior minister Habib Al-Adli and six of Adli’s senior aides on the same charge of killing 840 protesters. The court also rejected an appeal against the acquittal of Mubarak associate Hussein Salem.
When Chief Judge Anwar Gabri read out his verdict to a packed courtroom, dismissing appeals lodged by the lawyers of the victims and the prosecutor-general against the acquittal of Mubarak’s sons, Al-Adli and his aides, supporters of the former present began chants of “long live justice” and distributed sweets. When it was announced the acquittal did not extend to Mubarak, who would be retried for a third and final time, the same crowd denounced the “biased justice system” and attempted to attack lawyers representing the families of murdered protestors.
Security concerns mean the re- trial is likely to be held in the Police Academy on the outskirts of Cairo, the venue for all Mubarak’s earlier trials, rather than at the Court of Cassation’s Downtown headquarters.

Mubarak’s lawyer Farid Al-Deeb told reporters the retrial would result in the acquittal of his client, stressing that it had been ordered on procedural grounds after the Court of Cassation rejected the argument made by the Appeals Court that the original charge sheet, issued in March 2011, against Al-Adli and his six aides, did not name Mubarak. The former president was only added as a defendant in the case in May 2011.

“The Court of Cassation has already found Mubarak’s co-defendants not guilty. I’m confident they will come to the same conclusion over my client,” said Al-Deeb.

Mubarak’s first trial opened in August 2011. After hearings that lasted a year judge Ahmed Rifaat sentenced Mubarak and Al-Adli to life on charges of complicity in the deaths of protestors.

Deeb successfully appealed the ruling against his client and a new trial opened in May 2014. During the six-month case judge Mahmoud Rashidi caused controversy by allowing Mubarak, Al-Adli and his aides to address the court and allowing a television channel owned by a pro-Mubarak businessman to film the proceedings. Cameras were even allowed into the dock to film Mubarak reading out a statement in his defence. Rashidi also released a CD to journalists detailing his ruling before it was read out in court.

While the prosecutor general appealed Rashidi’s judgement on the grounds of violating a number of legal procedures the Court of the Cassation ordered a retrial because it considered Rashidi’s decision to acquit Mubarak on the basis of the failure to include him in the original indictment faulty.

Since being forced from office Mubarak has appeared as a defendant in several separate corruption cases, only one of which has resulted in a conviction.  On 9 May the Appeals Court sentenced Mubarak and his two sons to three years for using public funds intended for the upkeep of presidential residences to renovate their own properties. Having already served more than three years in prison, Mubarak’s sons were released, only to be detained again for failing to pay back the LE 125 million they had fraudulently redirected to upgrade their homes. Mubarak remains in the military hospital in Maadi.
Following last week’s ruling acquitting Al-Adli his lawyer, Essam Batran, said his client would now seek compensation for reputational damage and false imprisonment.

Al-Adli spent 14 years as interior minister during which State Security maintained an iron-fist policy against all opponents of the Mubarak regime. Critics also accuse him of using the police to rig elections in favour of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.
Following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013 television channels owned by businessmen close to Mubarak began to refer to the 25 January Revolution as a conspiracy. Some went even further, insisting that Morsi’s ouster vindicated the policies that had been pursued by Al-Adli as interior minister.

The failure to secure convictions against Mubarak and his henchmen for anything but minor charges is seen by the former president’s opponents as a sign of the pervasiveness of the counterrevolution. They charge intelligence and security bodies of repeatedly obstructing prosecutors and concealing evidence that could have led to the conviction of their former bosses.

 

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