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article imageProsecutors seek death penalty for Egypt's Mubarak

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 5, 2012 in World
Cairo - Egyptian prosectors are seeking the death penalty for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He is accused of being responsible for the deaths of over 850 protesters in a country where the death penalty is used regularly.
Mubarak was tried in a courtroom on the outskirts of Cairo on charges of ordering the killing of demonstrators during the revolt last year that overthrew him. The prosecutors demand for hangings will also apply to former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly and six former security chiefs. According to AFP, Prosecutor Mustafa Khater told the presiding chief judge, Ahmed Refaat,
"The law punishes premeditated murder with execution. The prosecution demands the maximum punishment. The souls of the dead, martyrs, are asking where is the judge on earth, the just judge, who will listen to our complaints, who will punish the oppressors? Punishing the defendants will give each his right. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants. The prosecution and Egyptian society expect the truth, that all are equal before the law, and that Egyptian blood is no longer cheap."
And prosecutor, Mustafa Suleiman told the court,
"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. He [Mubarak] can never, as the head of the state, claim that he did not know what was going on. He is responsible and must bear the legal and political responsibility for what happened."
Mubarak, 83, who has said he is not well, lay on a stretcher in the defendants' cage through most of the trial. The former Egyptian dictator has been staying in a military hospital where he is being treated for a heart condition. Prosecutor Khater also demanded the "maximum sentence" or 15 years in prison for Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, now on trial with their father on separate corruption charges.
But the BBC reports that it took five long months of hearings before the prosecution made its decision. The prosecution took testimony from 2,000 witnesses, including police officers who said they got orders from above to arm police with automatic rifles and shotguns to use against protesters. Many Egyptians suspect that Mubarak's trial has taken so long, because they worry that the outcome of it may culminate with a further polarized Egypt.
Part of the reason for the long delay was a three-month hiatus during which lawyers for the alleged victims unsuccessfully tried to get Judge Ahmed Refaat, dismissed because they accused him of being biased towards the lawyers defending Mubarak.
The formal demand for the execution of Mubarak now ends the prosecution's case. On Monday, the defense will have its turn where lawyers representing alleged victims' families, will argue their side.
The trial has now been adjourned until January 9, when the defense is expected to present its case.
More about Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian protests, mubarak trial, Egypt, Mubarak
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