Egypt’s Mubarak Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ in Historic Trial

Posted August 3rd, 2011 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak, brought into court in a hospital bed, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ordered the death of hundreds of anti-government protesters. The judge in the case adjourned the trial until August 15 after Wednesday's dramatic session.

News channels around the world broadcast the start of Mr. Mubarak's historic. The former president, who also faces corruption charges, is the first Arab leader to face a court in person since the so-called “Arab Spring” of popular uprisings swept across much of the Middle East and North Africa this year.

Mr. Mubarak was clad in white robes during the proceedings in Cairo, reclining on a hospital bed inside a large cage at the front of the courtroom built to house defendants.

Crowds outside the building and watched the proceedings on a large screen, along with hundreds of police. At one point supporters and opponents of Mr. Mubarak threw stones at one another.

Mr. Mubarak is accused of ordering the killing of nearly 900 people during the 18-day uprising for democratic reforms that led to his resignation in February. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death. He also is charged with corruption, abuse of power and squandering public wealth.

Mr. Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also on trial. They stood next to their father and spoke with him during the opening session. Both men denied the charges against them.

Other defendants who went on trial Wednesday include Mr. Mubarak's former interior minister , six police commanders and a prominent businessman who is being tried in absentia. They are scheduled to appear before the court again Thursday.

Egypt's judiciary moved the location of the trial to the Cairo Police Academy for security reasons.

The ailing former president had been living under house arrest at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his family. But at the close of Wednesday's session, the judge ordered that Mr. Mubarak stay at a local hospital in Cairo for the duration of the proceedings.