Egypt’s Mubarak sentenced to life, protests erupt
Hosni Mubarak, toppled by an uprising last year after 30 years ruling Egypt, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Saturday for his role in killing protesters after a trial that sets a precedent for holding Middle East autocrats to account.
But it was not enough for thousands of Egyptians who poured onto the streets after the verdict. Some wanted Mubarak executed, others feared the judge’s ruling exposed weaknesses in the case that could let the former military strongman off on appeal.
Protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, focus for the uprising that drove Mubarak, now 84, from office on February 11, 2011. Others in the second city of Alexandria chanted: “We are done with talk, we want an execution!”
The ruling came at a politically fraught time for Egypt, two weeks before a run-off in its first free presidential election that will pit the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned under Mubarak, against the deposed autocrat’s last prime minister.
Mubarak was wheeled into a courtroom cage on a hospital stretcher to join co-defendants including his two sons Alaa and Gamal, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and six security officials.
“The court has ordered a punishment for Hosni Mubarak of life in prison based on charges of participating in crimes of killing and attempted killing,” Judge Ahmed Refaat told the hushed courtroom.
Propped up on the hospital stretcher and wearing sunglasses, Mubarak heard the verdict stony-faced. He was acquitted on a separate corruption charge.