Judge Mahmoud Kamel Al-Rashidy adjourned on Saturday the retrial session of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, who is accused of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters during the 25 January Revolution as well as corruption charges.
Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal, former interior minister Habib Al-Adly and six of his aides, and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem are charged in the same case.
Al-Rashidy was supposed to issue the verdict during this session, but he said the court needed more time to issue the verdict reasoning based on the 160,000 paper-case.
“It is the case of a nation…and not an ordinary disagreement…and the court realises this fact very well,” Al-Rashidy said.
Al-Rashdiy ordered that Al-Adly will remain in custody while the six aides will be released pending the verdict. Mubarak and his sons will remain in prison over another case.
At the beginning of the trial, Al-Rashidy presented a video recording of a TV show broadcast by the private Sada Al-Balad station showcasing two rooms where the trial judges meet and the case papers are stored as hard copies and on computers.
The judge presented 1,600 pages during the session, representing 1% of the case files, out of which the judges will derive the verdict reasoning, to be announced after the verdict is issued.
Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), said that the judge’s decision means that other defendants will be released pending the trial, but that Mubarak and his sons will remain behind bars over other charges related to corruption and exporting gas to Israel.
“I don’t feel comfortable with the decision, but I am not surprised,” said Eid, adding that the court’s decision is part of a series of violations of the law sovereignty in Egypt.
Lawyer Essam Al-Battawy, representing Al-Adly, begs to differ.
“The court was honest in front of the people as it made such a decision [in order to] take the time required to go through all the papers,” Al-Battawy said.
Al-Battawy further said the coming session is likely to be postponed as well.
Civil claims in the case, according to Al-Rashidy, are divided into three: the families of the killed protesters, the injured demonstrators and the State Ligations Authority that demands compensations for the state properties damaged or destroyed during the revolution.
On 28 January 2011, dubbed the Friday of Rage, security forces failed to forcibly disperse hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square with tear gas and live ammunition. They eventually lost control, ceding the streets to protesters.
Police stations and prisons were broken into and set ablaze, which allowed thousands of convicts and detainees to escape.
Local and international media outlets documented these incidents by pictures and video footage.
Meanwhile, Al-Rashidy said that based on article 14 of the procedural law, a defendant’s case is over if he or she dies during the trial.
In May 2014, Mubarak was convicted in another trial of embezzlement and sentenced to three years in prison in the case dubbed “the presidential palaces”. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak were handed down four year sentences in the same case.
The three were ordered to pay back about EGP 21m and collectively fined about EGP 125m.