The retrial of Hosni Mubarak for conspiring to kill January 25 protesters was adjourned on Thursday to November 3. The former president did not attend due to concerns about his secure transfer to the downtown Cairo court.
This is the fourth time security forces have refused to transfer Mubarak to an appeals court in the High Court building in downtown, with the Interior Ministry saying the court is an inappropriate venue, as it isn’t equipped for a helicopter landing. The Justice Ministry suggested the trial be moved to the Police Academy, where Mubarak was originally tried, but this was rejected by the court, who said it would not move from its historic headquarters.
The trial was adjourned to provide enough time for the Interior Ministry to find a more suitable premises.
Hoda Nasrallah, a civil defense lawyer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), says Mubarak’s attendance is mandatory for the court to issue a final ruling.
A ruling by the appeals court should be the final chapter in this highly contentious trial. Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six of his aides stood trial in front of a criminal court for the first time in August 2011 for orchestrating the murder of hundreds of protesters during the January 25 revolution in 2011.
In June 2012, both Mubarak and Adly were handed life sentences and the six aides were acquitted. The appeals court, however, annulled the verdict on procedural grounds in January 2013, ordering a retrial and referring the case to another criminal court.
The public prosecution then appealed the verdict in front of the appeals court for a second time. In June 2015, the appeals court upheld the acquittals of Adly and his aides and accepted the prosecution’s appeal against Mubarak’s acquittal. In this case, the appeals court is mandated not only to rule on procedural grounds, but also on substantive issues related to the case. The court’s ruling is expected to be final this time, and is not subject to appeal.
Nasrallah expects that Mubarak will be automatically acquitted. She told Mada Masr, “Adly was accused of conspiring with other partners to kill protesters, and Mubarak is accused of conspiring with Adly to kill protesters. Mubarak thus becomes the partner of the partner. If the partners are acquitted, Mubarak will be acquitted.”