Mubarak trial to be held in Cairo

Updated: 2011-07-29 06:42


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CAIRO - The trial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons and former interior minister will be held in Cairo, a top judiciary official said Thursday after the health minister declared the ousted president well enough to be brought to the capital from a hospital in the Sinai.

The announcements made it a certainty that the 83-year-old Mubarak will be brought back to Cairo for the first time since his February 11 fall from power, when he fled to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. An appeals judge must still formally announce the move, but according to Egyptian law, the defendant must physically appear in court.

"Egyptian law stipulates that a judge must hear the defendant's testimony with his own ear, and physically be in the same room as the defendant," said Nasser Amin, a lawyer with the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary.

Deputy Justice Minister Mohammed Munie told the state news agency MENA that a "final decision" has been made to hold the trial in a hall at Cairo's Convention Center. The decision was made by representatives of the ruling military, security officials and the industry and trade minister, who oversees the convention center.

Munie said hall at the Convention Center, which is normally used for international trades shows and book fairs, is being fitted with chairs, an appropriately sized defendant's cage, and a media pit. He said there would be regulations on who may attend the trial and that Egyptian police and military will be securing the location for the duration of the trial.

Reports that Mubarak's health was faltering had raised speculation his trial, due to start August 3, could be postponed or held in Sharm el-Sheikh, where he has been undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Health Minister Amr Helmy gave the green light for Mubarak to be moved.

"Mubarak's health is in an appropriate condition to be tried in Cairo," he told reporters Thursday.

The decision to hold the trial in Cairo instead of the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh may quell the anger of thousands of Egyptians who felt a Sinai trial would mean giving special treatment to the ousted president.

Mubarak is to be tried on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising against him. Going on trial with him are his sons, Gamal and Alaa, charged with corruption, and former interior minister Habib el-Adly, also charged with ordering the killings of protesters.


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