Conflict & Justice

Hosni Mubarak's lawyer says his client is still president of Egypt, eligible for immunity


Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is wheeled on a stretcher into court for his murder trial in Cairo on Jan. 5, 2012.



Hosni Mubarak is still president of Egypt and should enjoy immunity from prosecution, his lawyer said during closing arguments in the ousted strongman's trial in Cairo.

"Mubarak did not write a letter of resignation," Farid al-Deeb told the court, Agence France-Presse reported. "The document was signed by Omar Suleiman," Egypt's former spy chief who was appointed by Mubarak as vice president during a popular uprising last year demanding that the veteran leader quit.

Mubarak, who stepped down on February 11 last year, after an 18-day uprising, is charged along with his security chief and four police commanders of complicity in the killing hundreds of protesters, according to the AP.

The crime carries the death penalty.

Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also facing separate charges of corruption.

El-Deeb, described by the AP as a "suave celebrity lawyer" said on Sunday that Mubarak had given verbal instructions to Suleiman to announce that he was delegating the armed forces to "run the affairs of the nation," and that this did not amount to a resignation.

"This court is not qualified to try him and he must be acquitted," he reportedly said, to rounds of applause from Mubarak's defense team.

Addressing Mubarak, a former air force chief and a decorated war hero who ruled Egypt for 29 years, el-Deeb said: "You, Mubarak, are a wounded eagle in the sky. Don't be sad, be tough, for you are not any better than the Prophet."

Lawyers for the victims responded with chants of "execution, execution" and "down, down with Mubarak."