Egypt seeks death by hanging for Hosni Mubarak

Egyptian prosecutors sought the death penalty in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak. They say he was complicit in the killing of more than 800 Egyptian protesters last year.

By , Associated Press

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    Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who has been ill, arrives by gurney to court in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 5, 2012.
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The prosecutor in the trial of Hosni Mubarak demanded on Thursday that the ousted Egyptian leader be sentenced to hang on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising against his rule.

Mustafa Khater, one of a five-member prosecution team, also asked the judge for the death sentence for Mubarak's security chief and six top police commanders being tried in the same case.

"Retribution is the solution. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants," said Khater on the third and final day of the prosecution's opening statement. "We feel the spirits of the matryrs flying over this hall of sacred justice and those who lost their sight by the bullets of the defendants are stumbling around it to reach the judge and demand fair retribution from those who attacked them," he said.

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"The nation and the people are awaiting a word of justice and righteousness."

Mubarak's two sons, one-time heir apparent Gamal and Alaa, face corruption charges in the same trial along with their father and a close family friend who is a fugitive.

An 18-day uprising forced Mubarak, 83, to step down on Feb. 11 after a nearly 30-year rule. The military, led by a general who served as defense minister under Mubarak for 20 years, replaced him in power.

Earlier in Thursday's hearing, chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said Mubarak was "politically and legally" responsible for the killing of the protesters and charged that the former president did nothing to stop the killings that he was aware of from meetings with aides, regional TV channels and reports by his security agencies.

He said Mubarak's security chief and co-defendant, former interior minister Habib el-Adly, authorized the use of live ammunition on orders from Mubarak.

"He (Mubarak) can never, as the top official, claim that he did not know what was going on," Suleiman told the court. "He is responsible for what happened and must bear the legal and political responsibility for what happened. It is irrational and illogical to assume that he did not know that protesters were being targeted."

Addressing Mubarak directly, Suleiman said, "If you had not issued these orders yourself, then where was your outburst of rage over the lives of your people?" Testimonies by two interior ministers who succeeded el-Adly, he said, pointed out that the defendant could not have given the order to use live ammunition against the protesters without Mubarak's personal approval, said Suleiman.

Suleiman said Mubarak told investigators he decided to step down after the military refused to intervene to "immediately and urgently" help the security forces contain the protests. Mubarak called out the army on Jan. 28 — three days into the uprising and on the day when security forces disappeared from the streets in circumstances that have yet to be fully explained.

"He (Mubarak) fully knew what was happening but he did nothing," said Suleiman.

Another prosecutor, Wael Hussein, said that one of the six police commanders on trial — former chief of the hated state security agency Hassan Abdel-Rahman — has personally given orders to allow inmates to escape from a string of jails across the nation during the uprising. The escapees, who numbered in the thousands, have been blamed for a dramatic surge in crime since Jan. 28 last year when almost all vestiges of state authority collapsed.

Most of the inmates have since been captured and returned to jail, but Egypt continues to suffer higher-than-usual crime rates.

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