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Saturday 30 August 2014

Mubarak to face trial over protest deaths

Louisa Loveluck Cairo

Published 26/08/2013 | 05:00

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The wheelchair-bound ex-president, Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, appeared in court on charges of inciting the murder of protesters during the 2011 uprising, days after he was released from prison and placed under house arrest.

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The 85-year-old toppled dictator, flanked by his sons Gamal and Alaa, who are being tried in corruption cases, sat in a wheelchair and smiled in court in images that contrasted to previous hearings, during which he was lying on a stretcher.

Mr Mubarak appeared in an east Cairo court to hear charges related to the killing of demonstrators during the uprising. More than 800 people died between the start of the uprising on January 25 and Mr Mubarak's downfall on February 11.

A helicopter flew Mr Mubarak to the court in the police academy on the eastern outskirts of Cairo from a military hospital where he was placed under house arrest after his release from jail.

His lawyers argued that he should not be jailed for conspiring to kill protesters, because no other cases relating to the country's 2011 revolution had produced convictions.

Fareed El-Deeb argued that it would be nonsensical to sentence the former president on charges of complicity, given that previous investigations had failed to convict a single policeman. The three-hour long hearing was adjourned to September 14, pending further investigation.

In a separate hearing, six leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of instigating the killing of nine opponents of Mohammed Morsi during clashes outside the group's Cairo headquarters on June 30. The case was adjourned to October 29 after the organisation's Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, and six deputies failed to appear in court, on grounds of "security concerns".

CHAOTIC

Labelled the 'trial of two regimes' by one Egyptian newspaper, the hearings provided a window on to the chaotic legacy of the country's revolution.

Mr Mubarak was jailed for life last June, but a retrial was ordered and he was released into house arrest.

The Brotherhood leaders were arrested following the military-led removal of Mr Morsi, signalling a state-led effort to dismantle the organisation that backed the country's first democratically elected president. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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