Protests as Mubarak Gets Life Prison Sentence

Posted June 2nd, 2012 at 10:35 am (UTC-5)
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Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison Saturday for his role in the killings of protesters during the uprising that forced him from office, but he was acquitted of corruption charges. Crowds have begun gathering in Cairo, with most people apparently angry at what they say was leniency for the longtime national ruler.

Prosecutors had called for the death penalty for Mubarak, the only leader toppled in the Arab Spring uprisings to be tried in his own country.

VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott says an anti-Mubarak crowd outside the courthouse was initially jubilant as the verdict was announced on Saturday, but the mood changed as people learned more about the decision.

Thousands of demonstrators came to Cairo's Tahrir Square after the court session, chanting and waving Egyptian flags.

“There was a dampening of the mood when it turned out that Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, were acquitted of corruption charges. That, to many people, seemed that the money that many people feel that the Mubarak family and the inner circle have plundered from the country, will still be in their hands.”

Egyptian state media say Mubarak suffered a “health crisis” on his way back to the Tora prison, where he has been receiving medical treatment. The 84-year-old former president had consistently arrived in court on a stretcher. Officials have been holding him at a prison hospital.

Mubarak's lawyers are expected to appeal the sentence.

Mubarak's former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, received a life sentence for protest-related killings, but six ex-police commanders were acquitted.

U.S. Secretary of States Hillary Clinton declined to comment on Mubarak's conviction on Saturday. However, speaking from Norway, she expressed hope that Egypt's election process would produce a result that is “accepted as reflecting the will of the Egyptian people.”