Conflict & Justice

Cairo court hears harshest criticism ever of "tyrant" Hosni Mubarak


Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, lies on a stretcher as he leaves court following his trial at police academy, on the outskirts of Cairo on January 2, 2012.



Egyptian prosecutors have accused ousted president Hosni Mubarak of tyranny and corruption during his near-30 year rule, saying he devoted the last decade in power to ensuring that his son would succeed him.

Meanwhile, according to VOA, many Egyptians "are seeing a parallel in the behavior of the nation's current rulers, especially in the suppression of dissent, as the anniversary of the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak nears."

Lead prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman used the harshest criticism of Mubarak ever heard in an Egyptian courtroom Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

His comments "seemed aimed at energizing the landmark trial of Mubarak, his two sons and eight other defendants after five months of sessions that were often bogged down by lengthy delays, muddled testimonies and complicated procedural issues." 

The ailing 83-year-old, who was wheeled into the court — set up at a Cairo police academy that once bore Mubarak's name — on a stretcher, is accused of involvement in the deaths of more than 800 protesters in February.

Mubarak, who is on trial along with his former interior minister Habib al-Adly, six security chiefs and his sons Alaa and Gamal, is being tried on corruption charges, and faces the death penalty if he is convicted of complicity in the killing the protesters.

The trial has been plagued by procedural delays, including a three-month effort by lawyers for the alleged victims to dismiss Judge Ahmed Refaat, whom they accused of bias towards the defense, The Telegraph reported. The request was denied.

Egyptians have become skeptical that the generals who took power from Mubarak — and who owed their positions to him — have any interest in seeing him punished.

(GlobalPost reports: Hosni Mubarak trial resumes in Cairo amid speculation Egyptian ex-leader could be acquitted)

"Suleiman's unusually broad denunciations of the former leader may have aimed at allaying such fears," the AP wrote.

He called Mubarak a "tyrannical leader" who sought to spread corruption in Egypt, ruining the country, looking after his friends and relatives and dodging accountability.

"He deserves to end in humiliation and indignity: From the presidential palace to the defendants' cage and then the harshest penalty," Suleiman reportedly said in a blistering hour-long attack.

Suleiman said the corruption of Mubarak's regime peaked in November and December 2010, when authorities engineered what is widely seen as the most fraudulent parliamentary election seen in Egypt since the army seized power in a 1952 coup. Mubarak's ruling party won all but a handful of seats in the vote in what Suleiman said was part of a strategy to ensure Gamal's succession.

The prosecution has been given three days to make its case.