x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mubarak ruled as a tyrant, Egypt prosecutor tells court

Egypt's chief prosecutor delivers the harshest assessment of Hosni Mubarak's rule ever heard in one of the country's courtrooms, accusing the ousted leader of tyranny and corruption.

Hosni Mubarak, the former Egypt president, is wheeled into the courtroom in Cairo where prosecutors portrayed him as a tyrant in their opening arguments of his murder trial.
Hosni Mubarak, the former Egypt president, is wheeled into the courtroom in Cairo where prosecutors portrayed him as a tyrant in their opening arguments of his murder trial.

CAIRO // Egypt's chief prosecutor delivered the harshest assessment of Hosni Mubarak's rule ever heard in one of the country's courtrooms yesterday, accusing the ousted leader of tyranny and corruption.

Mustafa Suleiman also said Mubarak had devoted the past 10 years of his three decades in power to ensuring his son would succeed him. His hour-long speech seemed aimed at energising the landmark trial of Mubarak, his two sons and eight other defendants after five months of sessions often bogged down by lengthy delays, muddled testimonies and complicated procedural issues.

The procedures have frustrated many Egyptians, who have hoped for swift and clear justice against Mubarak after his February 11 ouster following 18 days of unprecedented protests against his rule.

Many have worried the generals who took power after Mubarak - and who owed their positions to him - have no interest in convicting him, and Mr Suleiman's unusually broad denunciations of the former leader may have aimed at allaying such fears.

"He deserves to end in humiliation and indignity: from the presidential palace to the defendants' cage and then the harshest penalty," said Mr Suleiman.

Mubarak, his former chief of security and other top police figures are charged with complicity in the killing of more than 800 protesters in the crackdown on the popular uprising against his rule. He and his sons, Alaa and one-time heir apparent Gamal, face corruption charges in the same trial.

Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted of complicity in the killing the protesters.

Mubarak was found guilty by an adminstrative court in May for damaging the national economy when he shutdown the internet and telephone services during the uprising. Mubarak and Egypt's former prime minister and interior minister were fined a total of 540 million Egyptian pounds (Dh329m).

Yesterday's session was the first of three days in which the prosecution will state its case against Mubarak.

Mr 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.

"Here we have a president who devoted the last decade of his rule to engineer something that no one in Egypt ever dared to do before - the succession of his son," said the prosecutor.

As has been the case since the start of the trial five months ago, Mubarak, 83, came to court on a hospital gurney. His two sons wore white prison uniforms. All three listened intently while Mr Suleiman spoke but said nothing. The judge adjourned the hearing until today.