Egypt’s Mubarak has ´health crisis´ after receiving life in prison (THE GLOBE AND MAIL) PATRICK MARTIN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 06/03/12)
GLOBE AND MAIL
GLOBE AND MAIL Articles-Index-Top
Egypt´s state media say former president Hosni Mubarak has suffered
a “health crisis” while on his way to a Cairo prison hospital.
Mr. Mubarak and his interior minister, Habib el-Adly, were sentenced
to life in prison, found guilty Saturday of “committing pre-meditated
crimes” in the killing of more than 800 Egyptians during the popular
uprising in the country last year.
Mr. Mubarak, in sunglasses, lying on a hospital gurney inside the
same courtroom cage in which he appeared when the trial began last
August, showed little emotion as the court ruling was read. He was
then quickly flown to the indignity of Torah Prison, possibly
suffering a heart attack as he arrived by helicopter. He will reside
in the hospital of the prison in which so many of the enemies of his
regime were sentenced.
It was a verdict to which almost all Egyptians looked forward. For
those who suffered under or fought against the human rights abuses of
the 29-year-long Mubarak regime, it was a moment of sublime
“Mubarak will go down in history as a man who killed his own people,”
said Hisham Kassem, a past head of the Egyptian Organization of Human
Rights and founding publisher of the independent Al Masry al Youm
newspaper. “I’m relieved that now he will not be entitled to the
honour of a military funeral,” said Mr. Kassem, who worked for two
decades against the regime’s criminal excesses.
For the majority of Egyptians it was more a relief that the trial was
over. They long for life to return to what passed as normal before
the “revolution,” without the chaos and economic decline that has
characterized life since then.
Even Mubarak supporters, who would be shocked at the audacity of a
panel of three judges to find their deposed leader guilty, will take
solace in the fact that the man was not sentenced to hang, as the
conviction might have merited.
Few expected the court to be so courageous, particularly since most
legal observers considered the evidence to be circumstantial at best –
yes, the president undoubtedly knew that security police were acting
in such a way that endangered lives or perhaps deliberately killed
people, but the smoking gun was not to be found in Mr. Mubarak’s hand.
It would have come as little surprise that Mr. el-Adly was convicted
of giving orders to shoot to kill, but it must have shocked critics
of the police force that the six senior police officials also charged
with complicity in the killing of unarmed protesters and bystanders
were found not guilty of the charges. The court concluded they were
only following orders from higher up.
Even as the stunning news of these verdicts is digested, Egyptians
also will be very surprised that the charges of corruption also
brought against Mr. Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were dropped
by the court, apparently because the charges were brought after a
statute of limitations had expired.
The two younger Mubaraks had been accused of accepting bribes –
villas in the Egyptian resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh – to help
secure their father’s influence in facilitating land concessions to
resort developer Hussein Salem, who has since fled the country.
Another of Mr. Salem’s companies also stands accused of exporting
natural gas to Israel at artificially low prices and thereby
squandering public revenue. He is also accused of illegally profiting
by having exclusive rights to export the gas improperly granted to
him by then-president Mubarak.
One Egyptian business consultant who has had dealings with firms
close to Gamal Mubarak said he had expected “the book to be thrown at
the sons, while daddy would be let off.” It was not to be.
Throughout the morning’s court appearance, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak
stood with arms folded across their chests blocking most of the
people in the court from seeing their father. They too showed little
but defiance at the proceedings.
Immediately, as the initial verdict of a conviction of Mr. Mubarak
and Mr. el-Adly was declared, the crowd of protesters outside the
courtroom erupted in celebration. Then, when news sunk in that the
six security commanders had been acquitted, the mood turned ugly and
many protesters began to push and shove the phalanx of security
forces guarding the military building that housed the courtroom.
There will be great bitterness that the police, so hated by many
Egyptians, have been let off.
However, it is unlikely that verdict will prompt the kind of riots
that would have ensued had Hosni Mubarak not been convicted.
“He’s a jailbird, now,” said a satisfied Mr. Kassem, the human rights
activist and publisher.
With a report from Reuters (© Copyright 2012 CTVglobemedia Publishing
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY