Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mubarak in the Dock

    Today, August 3rd 2011 was the day deposed President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak finally had his day in court. After delays, and all the reports about the state of his health--"He's got terminal cancer." "No, he hasn't." "He's in a coma!", "No, he isn't."---Egyptians finally got what we wanted; Mubarak (and sons) in their white overalls in the accused's cage. And in an ironic twist of fate it was in the same hall (at the Police Academy) that Mubarak gave his last speech before the start of the January 25 protests which lead to his eventual downfall.

   Today was merely the opening session in the trial of Mubarak, his sons Alaa and (President in waiting) Gamal and former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly (one of the slimiest human beings on the planet IMO). As such the lawyers of the defendants and the prosecution were presenting their arguments and demands for the trial. This was, unfortunately but not surprisingly, chaotic with only one microphone that had to be passed around amongst all the lawyers (there we several there representing the families of the martyrs in various areas of Egypt in civil suits against the deposed and the former MOI head.) which lead to the judge having to discipline the courtroom much as a teacher disciplines a classroom.

    Suzanne Mubarak was conspicuous by her absence today as were the wives of Alaa and Gamal. Suzanne is also facing charges relating to illegal profiteering during her husband's 30 year rule.

   It wasn't until after the first adjournment that the Mubarak and his sons were charged and called upon to state their pleas. Unsurprisingly all three pleaded 'not guilty.'. The charges against them included; ordering the shooting of protesters (could lead to the death penalty), selling Egypt's natural gas to Israel at greatly reduced prices (thus harming the economy). 

  • Seeing them in the cage! For non-Egyptian readers; this is normal procedure in Egyptian courts as it is in Russia I believe.
  • Mubarak picking his nose. 
  • Gamal and Alaa standing in front of Mubarak's stretcher in an attempt to hide him from the cameras. Didn't work.
  • The judge asking the lawyers if they had their demands written down or were going to waste time trying to remember them.
  • The public prosecutor listing the charges against Mubarak, Alaa and Gamal.
  • Hearing Mubarak say ' Ya Fandem' meaning 'yes sir.' to the judge to show he is present. He probably hasn't said that in 30 years!
  • The one conspiracy-theorist lawyer who demanded DNA tests on Mubarak to prove it's really him and that he didn't die in 2004.
  • THAT IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!! There's no denying that this is a historical day in Egyptian and Arab history. An Arab leader has never before been tried after being deposed by their own people. It was unthinkable a mere 7 months ago and right up until Mubarak was actually wheeled in, most people thought we would never seem him stand trial. 

      After a second adjournment the judge declared that Habib El-Adly would be tried separately for his role in the deaths of protesters and would resume tomorrow (it has already been postponed 3 times, although he has been found guilty of money laundering and profiteering). The Mubaraks' trial will be resumed on the 15th of August 2011 with Alaa and Gamal returning to Torah Prison where they have been held since February and Hosni Mubarak will be held in a military hospital on the Cairo-Ismaliia desert road. 

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