Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak went on retrial for his alleged role in the deaths of at least 846 protesters during the January 2011 uprising, in a case that has become emblematic of the country’s stunted transition to democracy.
Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for about three decades, appeared in court in Cairo today on a stretcher, sitting up and wearing sun glasses. He was joined in a metal cage in the courtroom by his long-time interior minister, Habib El-Adli, and six other former security officials who are also being retried.
Mubarak and El-Adli face charges of complicity in the protester killings. Separately, the former president faced corruption-related charges detailed by the prosecution. All the defendants denied the charges against them.
The hearing comes after a court in January overturned a life sentence handed down against Mubarak in the protesters’ case. The new trial began April 13, only to be halted minutes later after a judge excused himself from the case.
The proceedings are largely a replay of the case that first opened in August 2011, and is viewed by the relatives of those killed as evidence that justice is still being denied more than two years after the uprising that set Egypt on the troubled path to democracy.
Since then, the economy has limped along at what the International Monetary Fund says is the slowest pace in two decades, and President Mohamed Mursi has faced accusations by secularists and youth activists of ignoring the nation’s needs while bolstering the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood organization from which he hailed.
The first Mubarak trial, in which he was charged with complicity in the killing of protesters, frequently descended into chaos, with fistfights erupting in the courtroom. He was sentenced in June last year for failing to prevent the killings, a verdict that triggered protests with the victims’ lawyers and their families criticizing the prosecution’s evidence as weak and hastily gathered.
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