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Egypt prosecutor demands death sentence for Mubarak

Thursday January 5 2012

Egyptian supporters of the ousted president

Egyptian supporters of the ousted president Hosni Mubarak hold his pictures during his trial outside the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo on January 5, 2012. The chief prosecutor in Mubarak's trial demanded the death sentence for the fallen Egyptian dictator, arguing that he had ordered the killings of anti-regime demonstrators. PHOTO/ AFP/ KHALED DESOUKI 

CAIRO, Thursday

A prosecutor in Hosni Mubarak's trial on Thursday demanded the death sentence for him and his former security chief, saying the fallen Egyptian president had ordered the killings of anti-regime demonstrators.

"The law foresees the death penalty for premeditated murder," prosecutor Mustafa Khater told the court during the trial of the former president, who was toppled in a popular uprising in February.

In wrapping up the three-day case, chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said for his part that "the president of the republic is responsible for protecting the people, and the question is not simply one of whether he ordered the killing of protesters, but to know why he did not intervene to stop the violence.

"How could the president of the republic not be aware of the demonstrations that broke out on January 25 in 12 places in several governorates," Suleiman added, rejecting claims that Mubarak was not informed of the seriousness of the situation.

He also argued that then interior minister Adly, who is also on trial, could "not have given the order to fire on demonstrators without having been instructed to do so by Mubarak."


Expanding on that, he said two interim ministers that followed Adly had testified that the "interior minister does not have the power to give orders to shoot, and that he cannot take such a decision without consulting with the political leadership."

During Wednesday's hearing, Suleiman said he had strong evidence against the fallen dictator in arguing that Mubarak had ordered the killings, and accused the interior ministry of hampering the case.

"The prosecution has confirmed that Mubarak, Adly and his aides assisted and incited" the shooting deaths of protesters, the official MENA news agency quoted him as saying.

But Suleiman said the "state apparatus had deliberately refused to cooperate with the prosecution" in the case.

The ailing 83-year-old former strongman is accused of involvement in the deaths of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in February.

Adly and six security chiefs were also in the dock, as were Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who are being tried on corruption charges.

The prosecution is also seeking the death penalty for Adly and the six officials.

Khater demanded the "maximum sentence" or 15 years behind bars for Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who are facing charges of corruption.

On Tuesday, Suleiman described Mubarak as a "tyrannical leader who sought to hand power to his younger son Gamal, who spread corruption in the country and opened the door to his friends and relatives, ruining the country without any accountability.

The trial began on August 3 after months of protests to pressure the military rulers to place the former strongman on trial along with ex-regime officials.

There was a three months hiatus in which lawyers for the alleged victims unsuccessfully sought the dismissal of Judge Ahmed Refaat, whom they accused of bias towards the defence.

Relatives of those who died in the protests say their hopes to see Mubarak sentenced have been dashed by a string of witnesses who mostly confirmed the defence's case that the former president never gave orders to shoot protesters.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's former defence minister and now the country's military ruler, testified behind close doors. The court issued a gag order on his testimony, but lawyers say he did not incriminate Mubarak.

Mubarak is in custody in a military hospital on Cairo's outskirts, where he is being treated for a heart condition. His lawyer says he suffers from stomach cancer.

Tuesday's hearing came as Egyptians headed to the polls in a third of the country's 27 provinces were voting in the final round of landmark parliamentary elections.