Military leaders facing backlash over Mubarak trial
EGYPT'S military leaders are bracing themselves for a backlash from the country's protest movement amid growing speculation that Hosni Mubarak, the former leader, will not appear in the dock when he goes on trial tomorrow.
For the first time since Mr Mubarak's fall from power in February, tanks were deployed in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Earlier, troops arrested dozens of protesters who had staged a three-week sit-in inside the square to demonstrate their anger against what they say is the slow pace of reform since the army took charge.
For the hundreds of thousands of protesters who thronged Tahrir Square at the beginning of the year, the trial of the man who led them for 30 years was meant to represent the culmination of their struggle for freedom. Instead, many fear a compromise brokered by the military leadership will rob them of justice.
Mr Mubarak's trial is due to open tomorrow in a court at Cairo's police academy. Charged with corruption and ordering the deaths of more than 800 people killed by his security forces during the uprising, Mubarak ostensibly faces the gallows if he is convicted.
Judicial officials are insisting that he will appear. But state doctors in Sharm el Sheikh where Mr Mubarak is being treated for a heart condition have hinted that he may be too ill to take to the dock.
Pro-democracy activists see any outcome in which a trial takes place in Mr Mubarak's absence as a shabby compromise meant to protect the military leadership, which is governing Egypt until elections later this year.
The generals were close to Mr Mubarak when he was in power and are said to be afraid of what he might reveal about them during a trial. Mr Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa, are expected to be in court. ( © Daily Telegraph, London)