CAIRO // The acquittal of six security chiefs, on trial with Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters last year, fails to deliver justice and could continue to encourage a culture of police impunity, rights groups said on Saturday.
Ousted leader Mubarak and his interior minister Habib al Adly were sentenced to life in prison, but the six security commanders were found innocent.
Mubarak's sentence "is a significant step towards combating long-standing impunity in Egypt" but the security chiefs' acquittal "leaves many still waiting for full justice," Amnesty International said in a statement.
"Many see the acquittal of all the senior security officials as a sign that those responsible for human rights violations can still escape justice," Amnesty said.
Judge Ahmed Refaat earlier sentenced Mubarak to life in prison after convicting him of involvement in the murder of protesters during the uprising that ousted him last year.
A senior lawyer for Mubarak's defence team told AFP the strongman, who was taken to the Cairo prison after the hearing, will appeal the sentence.
Also given a life term for the killings was the 84-year-old former strongman's interior minister Habib al-Adly, while six ex-police commanders were acquitted.
"The verdict fails to deliver justice, it fails to deter police from future abuse and it comes against the backdrop of acquittals in police trials," Heba Morayef, Cairo-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, told AFP.
"Today's verdict will continue to protect the impunity of the interior ministry for violence against protesters," she said.
Corruption charges against Mubarak's sons Alaa and Gamal were dropped due to the expiry of a statute of limitations, and the former president was acquitted in one of the graft cases.
"Every law student has heard of the statute of limitations, yet prosecutors conveniently forgot about this in referring Gamal and Alaa Mubarak to trial," Morayef said.
List of sentences in ex-Egyptian leader's trial
A list of sentences handed down in trial of Egypt’s ex-leader Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and former regime members:
HOSNI MUBARAK – Life in prison for complicity in murder and attempted murder of protesters during last year’s uprising. Acquittal on corruption charges as the statute of limitations had lapsed.
ALAA MUBARAK – Acquitted of corruption charges, but still faces separate trial on charges of insider trading.
GAMAL MUBARAK – Acquitted of corruption charges, but still faces separate trial on charges of insider trading.
HABIB EL ADLY former interior minister – Life in prison for complicity in murder and attempted murder of protesters. He was convicted and sentenced in two other corruption cases.
HUSSEIN SALEM ex-army and intelligence officer closely linked to Mubarak – Acquitted in absentia of corruption charges.
Six aides to el-Adly were acquitted on charges of complicity in murder and attempted murder of protesters.
Gen. Ismail el-Shair, former Cairo police chief
Gen. Adly Fayed, former head of General Security
Gen. Omar el-Faramawi, former 6th of October police chief
Gen. Hassan Abdel-Rahman, former head of State Security apparatus
Gen. Osama el-Marasi, former of Giza police chief
Gen. Ahmed Ramzi, former head of Central Security
* Associated Press