Thursday 22 March 2018

Aftermath of Mubarak trial sparks call for new uprising

Marwa Awad in Cairo

Egyptian pro-democracy campaigners yesterday called for a new uprising, saying justice was not served by the trial of Hosni Mubarak and others blamed for the killing of protesters during the street revolt that ended his three-decade rule.

In the first trial of a leader toppled in last year's Arab Spring uprisings, Mubarak was found guilty and handed a life sentence. His sons were found innocent of corruption charges and senior policemen were acquitted.

Thousands massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square in a second day of protest against Saturday's verdicts, raising the tension in the run-up to the final leg of Egypt's first free presidential election.

The run-off on June 16 and 17, the last stage in a chaotic transition from military to civilian rule, will pit Mr Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, against the candidate of the socially conservative Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Mursi.

Many took the trial outcome as proof the Mubarak clan still holds sway.


"This was not a fair verdict and there is mass rejection of the judge's ruling," said one protester, Amr Magdy.

"Tahrir will fill up again with protesters. In Egypt the only way you can get any justice is by protesting because all the institutions are still controlled by Mubarak figures."

The general prosecutor lodged an appeal on Sunday against the acquittal of six senior police officials charged with killing protesters, and banned them from travelling, the prosecutor's assistant said.

Young liberal and left-wing revolutionaries who led last year's uprising were dismayed when their own candidates lost the first round of the presidential election last month.

Mr Shafiq, who holds Mubarak as a role model, has taken a tough stance on law and order, appealing to people tired of protests, political chaos and insecurity that have damaged the economy.

Critics say he also has the backing of the powerful army.

"The judiciary issued its ruling based on the documents it had and we must accept it," said lawyer Mohamed Abdel A'al, who opposes more street protests. "Why do they want to suspend the election? Do they want further turmoil?"

Dozens of young men ransacked Mr Shafiq's campaign office in Fayoum south of Cairo overnight, the second such attack in recent days, state news website al-Ahram reported. Mr Shafiq's campaigners in Cairo confirmed the attack.

Irish Independent

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