Mubarak charged over protester killings

By Heba Saleh in Cairo
Financial Times
May 24 2011

Egypt’s state prosecutor has charged Hosni Mubarak, the former president, and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, over the killing demonstrators during the protests that toppled him and abuse of authority for personal gain.

The decision, which should lead to a criminal court trial, confounds predictions by some analysts and diplomats that the ruling supreme military council would try to shield the ousted president from public humiliation.

Assuming the trial goes ahead, Mr Mubarak will be the first Arab leader to have been deposed by his people in a popular uprising and held to account for abuse during his rule.

Diplomats say the prospect has rattled other states in the region and that Egypt is likely to have come under pressure from some Arab neighbours to spare him. There has also been speculation that the military council, whose members were appointed by Mr Mubarak, may have been reluctant to try the man who was until three months ago their commander in chief.

The charges against Mr Mubarak relate to the killing of some 850 demonstrators – most of them by police bullets – during the early days of the popular uprising which ousted Mr Mubarak in February. The abuse of power charges relate to favours allegedly granted to Hussein Salem, a tycoon.

The prosecutor’s announcement comes a few days ahead of planned demonstrations on Friday called by youth groups and other opposition movements angered by what they consider the reluctance of the military council to hold Mr Mubarak to account.

Activists have resorted repeatedly to mass protests over the past three months to extract concessions from the council. These have focused mainly on ensuring it take legal measures against members of the Mubarak regime. The council also faces criticism for monopolising political decision-making during the current transition to elected rule.

“Every time we have called for a massive demonstration, the military council has made a partial concession a few days before the date of the protest,” said Khaled al-Sayed, a member of the coalition of youth activists who launched the uprising. “But we want them to know they cannot deal with our demands in a piecemeal fashion.”

He said there were no plans to call off Friday’s rally in Cairo’s Tahrir square because other demands had not been met. These include speedy trials for Mr Mubarak, not only for the killing of protesters, but also for “corrupting political life” in the country during his three decades in power. Mr al-Sayed also said the protesters wanted the military council to sack governors and ministers who served under the old regime.

Mr Mubarak’s wife Suzanne was ordered released from custody last week after she turned over to the state disputed assets worth some $4m. This, along with a court ruling ordering the freeing of a senior aide of the president being investigated for corruption charges, sparked a wave of public anger.

  1. #1 by dagen on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 8:39 am

    “Umno people, look away quick. And hit the back button or something to change this page to something else.”

    Reports like this one by financial times make umno go wobbly!

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 9:46 am

    Goody, when r we CHARGING MMK, his sons, AAB, his SIL, NR, his wife, Moo, etc?

  3. #3 by wanderer on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 10:14 am

    Aiyooo,yoo,yoo! twenty three years of corruptions, murders and lies eventually will catch up with these racist Muslim pretenders on peoples’ judgement day. One is reaching quite close to his Maker, he may escape from the rakyat punishment but, he will not be spared by his Creator…
    Will Anwar find the heart to forgive these deranged low beings?

You must be logged in to post a comment.