The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, accused of the murders of protesters in the 2011 Arab Spring revolt, is slated to end Wednesday. Judge Ahmed Refa'at, chief of the Cairo Criminal Court and presiding justice in the case, said at the beginning of the week that by the day's end, he would set a date for issuing a verdict, but the decision could be weeks away.
If Mubarak is pronounced guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging as the prosecution has demanded, he might still escape that fate in an appeal – which could also drag on for months. The elderly former president is in fragile health, and has been wheeled into the courtroom each time on a stretcher. Nevertheless, there was little sympathy to be had for the former leader.
Outside the courtroom, pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters demonstrated. One anti-Mubarak protester held an effigy of the former president hanging from a noose in front of riot police outside the police academy where the ousted leader is on trial. The attorneys for the defense are to make their final statements in court when the presiding judge sets the date to announce his verdict on the charges.
The prosecution made its closing remarks Monday, presented by Attorney General Moustafa Suleiman. “This is not a case about the killing of one or 10 or 20 civilians, but a case of an entire nation,” Suleiman said, according to the Daily Times of Egypt.
It has been impossible for the prosecution to identify the police officers who were responsible for killing 850 civilian demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Suleiman pointed out. Therefore “we hope that someone's conscience is awoken and the unknown perpetrators are reported. But this doesn't mean that the defendants will escape punishment,” he said.The prosecutor also accused Mubarak's lawyers of slander and fabrication, and protested the court's decision not to separate the murder case from the charges of corruption.
Also on trial are Mubarak's two sons, Ala'a and Gamal, as well as his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and six security aides. Ala'a, Gamal and Adly are also accused of murder as well as corruption.