Egypt's Mubarak to stand trial for murder of protesters
If convicted, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could face the death penalty. Protesters are heartened by the trial, and vow to keep pressing their other demands.
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Egyptians, however, are more concerned with the charges Adly still faces: ordering the killings of protesters as the head of the nation's feared police and security apparatus. His next court date is June 26.Skip to next paragraph
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Analysts marveled at the likely impact on Egypt of seeing a former president, wearing a prison uniform, standing before a judge in a courtroom.
"We never had any laws questioning governors or ministers, so now to see the president put to criminal trial is a sign the country is taking steps forward, and that confidence will start building between the people and the supreme council," said Filiopater Gamil, a priest at a church in Giza and the general organizer of recent demonstrations by Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.
At least 846 people died in the Egyptian uprising, and more than 6,400 were injured, many of them permanently, according to a government fact-finding committee.
On Sunday, a criminal court sentenced a police officer to death for killing 20 protesters and wounding another 15 on Jan. 28, one of the bloodiest days of the revolution. That sentence was handed down in absentia; authorities still haven't tracked down Mohamed Mahmoud Abdelmoneim, the convicted officer.
Controversy over Mubarak's wife
Also this month, revolutionary groups were outraged by news that Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, would receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for handing over two bank accounts and a villa in Cairo. The former first lady's bank accounts contained more than $3 million, according to state media. Protesters dismissed that sum as pennies compared with the tens of millions they suspect were embezzled throughout Mubarak's three decades in power.
Suzanne Mubarak agreed to sign over the accounts after she was ordered into a 15-day detention for questioning on accusations that she sought unlawful personal gain from her husband's position. There was no update on negotiations for her immunity; government spokesmen couldn't be reached for comment.
Amnesty International, the international human rights advocacy group, praised the military council Tuesday for announcing the prosecution of the Mubaraks, saying in a statement that "the trial must offer the victims and their families the chance to confront the defendants and get answers."
Last week, Amnesty released a detailed report on the use of excessive force by state security forces to suppress protests during the uprising. The group interviewed hundreds of witnesses, victims and their families to compile dozens of examples of arbitrary detention, abuse and lethal force.
One chilling account in the report describes how an 18-year-old protester was forced "to undress while still blindfolded, had his feet tied, was handcuffed and was then suspended by a rope upside down. His head was submerged in a barrel of water and he was given electric shocks. He was ordered to confess that he had been trained by Israel or Iran."
(McClatchy special correspondent Mohannad Sabry contributed to this article from Cairo.)