CAIRO – An Egyptian court Sunday ordered a retrial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, granting an appeal of the former autocrat’s life sentence for failing to prevent the killing of more than 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule.
Sunday’s court ruling also overturned convictions for Mubarak’s former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and six other security officials who stood trial alongside Mubarak last year. The latter six were acquitted, but all will now be retried.
The ruling is unlikely to spark a public outcry. None of the defendants will go free because there are other cases pending against them. And both the defense and the prosecution had appealed the sentences.
Many Egyptians have complained that the ousted president’s earlier trial was deeply flawed, marred by political loyalties within the court and an inept prosecution. And some activists hailed the retrial order as a small victory.
The court’s ruling is a resuscitation of the revolution, said Mohamed Adel, a leader of the 6th of April youth movement and one of the key organizers of the 2011 protests that led to Mubarak’s fall.
Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, called on the attorney general’s office in November to open new investigations and trials for Mubarak, Adly and other ex-regime officials whose sentencing – and for some, acquittals – drew public anger for being too light.
Activists and legal experts said retrials present an important opportunity to examine broader evidence that they say was neglected during last year’s trial by a prosecution that was headed by a Mubarak appointee.
But others complained that a retrial could open the door to even lighter sentencing for Mubarak and his cronies.
The state news agency MENA reported that when they heard the verdict, a state of joy spread among Mubarak supporters who had gathered in the court’s lobby for Sunday’s proceedings.