Saturday, June 2, 2012

Verdict in Mubarak-trial provokes extreme anger among progressive Egyptians

 Mubarak enters the courtroom. (Al-Masry al-Youm)

Today, 2 June,  was the day of the verdict against the former Egyptian president Mubarak, his minister of the Interior Habib Adly, his two sons Gamal and Alaa and a number of  police and and other top generals  from the Interior ministry.
The verdict was a blow to the head of the revolutionaries: Although Mubarak and Adly got life imprisonment, it was for conspiring to kill protesters during the demonstrations in 2011, and not for giving the orders. What was worse: all of Adly's collaborators at the Interior ministry were acquitted. The judge said that the evidence against them had be destroyed. (And the big question now of course is: by whom?).
On top of that Mubarak and his sons were acquitted of corruption charges. Because according to the verdict '10 years had passed' since the crimes were committed'.
After the verdict angry spectators started a scuffle in and outside the courtroom. Read what Egypt Independent reported directly from the spot:  

10:40 am: Outside of the courtroom, a fight has broken out between families of the martyrs and Central Security Forces. The origins of the fight are not clear.
10:30 am: Lawyers representing the families of the martyrs explode in protest inside the courtroom, angry that former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly's deputies have escaped conviction. They chant: "The people demand the purging of the judiciary!" and "Illegitimate!" A fight breaks out in the courtroom.
10:25 am: Mubarak and Adly are sentenced to life imprisonment (the paper originally  wrote 25 years, but this was later corrected) for conspiring to kill protesters, the maximum possible sentence under Egyptian law.
Adly's deputies have all been acquitted. They are: former First Assistant Interior Minister for the Central Security Forces Sector Major General Ahmed Mohamed Ramzy Abdel Rashid; former First Assistant Interior Minister for Public Security Major General Adly Mostafa Fayed; former First Assistant Interior Minister for the State Security Agency Major General Hassan Abdel Rahman; former head of Cairo Security Directorate Major General Ismael al-Shaer; former head of Giza Security Directorate Major General Osama al-Marassy; former head of 6th of October Security Directorate Major General Omar al-Farmawy.
The former president and his two sons are also acquitted of all financial crimes because 10 years have passed since the alleged crimes were committed.

 The brothers Alaa and Gamal Mubarak behind bars in the courtroom. They were acquitted. But earlier this week they have been charged anew with new evidence. They remain in custody.   

The reactions in Cairo spoke volumes. A few samples: Hani Shukrallah, editor in chief of Al-Ahram Online twitterd: Message to police: kill & torture as you will; you"l be charged with investigating your crimes and be cleared for lack of evidence. 
Or Heba Morayef, Researcher for Egypt of Human Rights Watch: To recap: in this historic case prosecution failed to present enough evidence to convict the head of riot police Ahmed Ramzy of ANYTHING. Or: Verdict will go to appeal. Shouldnt be too difficult for lawyers to appeal Mubarak and Adly sentences given acquittal of all MOI aides.
Other reactions went even further than that and said that it was a clear signal that nothing has changed in Egypt and that this process was a signal that the state is preparing the way for a Mubarak-like regime under Ahmed Shafiq.

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