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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak and his aides acquitted of murder charges, as Egyptians protest the court verdict

Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian former President ousted after 18 days
of protests in 2011
(Image: Egyptian Streets)
Egyptian Criminal Court judge has dropped all charges against Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, his sons Alaa and Gamal, former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly and six his aides. The court session was held on Saturday, 29 November, in Cairo Police Academy.

Thus, the Court dropped the murder cases against Hosni Mubarak in relation to the killing of more than 800 protesters and injuring more than 1500 demonstrators across the country during 18 days of uprising in January-February 2011. The judge stated he dropped the criminal case against Hosni Mubarak because the earlier decision of the Prosecution, taken in March 2011, lacked basis to bring criminal case against the ousted President Hosni Mubarak. In addition to that the statute of limitations against Hosni Mubarak, his sons, his former Interior Minister and six aides has experied, according to the Judge.

The Court also cleared the former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly and his six aides of all the charges regarding killing of protesters and failing to prevent security vacuum during January 25 Revolution.
Hosni Mubarak after the court session
(Image: BBC)

Meanwhile Hosni Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal were also cleared of all the charges regarding corruption cases, embezzlement and corrupt gas deals with Israel. Businessman Hossam Salem, who was also convicted on the same charges and was tried in absentia, was also cleared of all the charges.

According to the legal sources the decision of the Court could be appealed.

The historical trial of Egypt’s long standing President Hosni Mubarak, ousted after 18 days of massive protests all over Egypt known as January 25 Revolution in 2011, started in June 2012. Former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly and his six aides faced the trial as well. The trial was broadcasted by Egyptian TV channels and drove huge public attention. Hosni Mubarak and his aides were found guilty during the trial and faced life sentences, but this decision was later appealed, and retrial began in April 2013. Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal faced trial on the corruption cases only.

Due to the health problems Hosni Mubarak has spent most of his term in Military Hospital in Cairo southern district of Maadi. Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, Habib El-Adly and other six officials were jailed in Cairo Torah Prison.

It’s worth mentioning though that Habib El-Adly who acquitted the murder case will remain jailed as he still faces several corruption charges.

Egyptian military and security forces block Tahrir Square in
Cairo after verdict in Mubarak case
(Image: News Week)
Following the verdict, families and relatives of the slain and injured protesters expressed grief and outrage reacting on the verdict, while the crowds of Mubarak’s supporters, who also gathered in front of the Police Academy, cheered and celebrated this decision, waving the posters and chanting in support of Hosni Mubarak.

Right after the court verdict was announced, Egyptian police and security forces have blocked the entrances to the iconic Tahrir Square, where the revolution began. Tanks and military vehicles blocked the entrances and the roads leading to the square, additional servicemen were deployed on the scene.

More than 3000 protesters have gathered in Cairo downtown to protest the court decision despite the government’s ban of all the unauthorized protests and tightened security measures in the city. Protesters stood in front of the tanks and barbed wires at the entrances of Tahrir Square. Other groups of protesters gathered from the other side, next to the building of Egyptian Museum.

Egyptians protests the court verdict clearing Mubarak of all
 the charges
(Image: Ahram Online)
Demonstrators were holding the posters and the pictures of many slain protesters and chanted against the current decision of the court and against Muslim Brotherhood as well. People demanded justice and chanted that Mubarak and his aides should be brought to justice and sentenced to death.

Later that evening protesters have gathered also at Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, which is close to the closed Tahrir Square.

Protesters though have clashed with security forces, and police started to fire tear gas and water cannons at protesters in order to disperse the crowds. Several people were reported to be injured, as at least 85 people were arrested by the security forces during the protests. The protests continued till the late night and during the next days as well, leaving at least two people dead and dozens injured. On Sunday the wave of protests against Mubarak verdict caught the country's universities and institutes.

The situation in Cairo downtown remains tense, as Egyptian protests the court verdict and acquittal of Hosni Mubarak and his aides in several other Egyptian cities as well, including the coastal city of Alexandria and Mansoura.

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi refused to comment the decision regarding Hosni Mubarak case. TheJudge in his case stated that the decision regarding Mubarak's release could be taken within the next 48 hours.