Conflict & Justice

Execution for Mubarak? Prosecution asks for death penalty


Egyptians walk past a poster of Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak shown behind a noose outside the court set up in the Cairo Police Academy in August. The prosecution today requested the death penalty for the deposed leader.



It's a bold move. The chief prosecutor in the case against Mubarak is requesting the former leader and his security aides be hanged for crimes committed against unarmed protestors during last year's uprising. But is it likely to be granted? 

In recent weeks, as the Mubarak trial resumed following a months-long hiatus, Egyptians speculated that the ageing dictator would be acquitted of murder charges. His health is ailing -- he is consistently wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher -- and Egyptians have seen little in the way of justice for security forces' treatment of demonstrators in the 18-day revolt that toppled the president.  

It is therefore unlikely the current military regime, which still includes Mubarak cronies and loyalists, would execute one of its own -- even if it prompted Egyptians to again take to the streets. 

It is unclear if protestors, whom continue to hold demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere, want to see Mubarak hanged. But they do want to see him punished. 

Some observers were unimpressed with the prosecution's case. (One of the prosecuting lawyers is rumored to have announced a run for the presidency, calling for wide-scale hash cultivation).

Karim Medhat Ennarah, security sector researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), is not optimistic. He says even if a death sentence is announced, it will likely be repealed, along with a guilty verdict, after rallies planned for the one-year anniversary of the first day of the uprising on Jan. 25, which the military rulers fear could provide the impetus for another uprising. 

The court reconvenes next week.