Egypt Prosecutor to Appeal Mubarak Verdict as Protests Mount

Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt's state prosecutor office says it will appeal the sentences handed out in the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, his sons and senior security officials as pro-democracy leaders called for street protests to intensify following the controversial verdicts.

Mubarak's defense team has also said it would issue a separate appeal of the convictions.

The presiding judge gave life sentences to Mubarak and former interior minister Habib al-Adly for their role in the killings of hundreds of anti-government protesters during the February 2011 uprising but spared their top six aides. Saturday's court decision also acquitted Mubarak, his two sons Gamal and Alaa, and others of corruption charges.

Prosecutors had called for the death penalty, but the judge said although Mubarak failed to prevent the deaths, he was not directly responsible for them.

Security officials said Sunday that Mubarak was issued the blue prison suit for convicts in his new jail, the Torah prison south of Cairo, and had his mug shot taken according to prison regulations.

The verdicts added to the political tension mounting since Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, advanced to a presidential election run-off scheduled for later this month.

Several thousand people remained Sunday in Cairo's Tahrir Square – the center of the revolution – and the number was steadily increasing as evening fell.

Tens of thousands had demonstrated Saturday and stayed through the night, demanding everything from a retrial to the death penalty for Mubarak. Many were furious about the acquittals of corruption charges. They suspect the vast wealth allegedly accumulated by the Mubarak family would remain in its hands.

Egyptian officials said Mubarak resisted leaving the helicopter that flew him to Torah and suffered an unspecified “health crisis” aboard the aircraft. He received treatment at a prison hospital. Throughout the trial, the 84-year-old former president had arrived in court on a stretcher.

Mubarak's abrupt resignation in February 2011 ended his almost 30-year rule in Egypt.

The verdict and sentencing come as Egypt remains divided over who will be its next leader. The first presidential elections since Mubarak's ouster has Islamist Mohammed Morsi running against Shafiq.

The former air force commander lashed out at his Muslim Brotherhood rival Sunday, warning Morsi and the fundamentalist group would monopolize power and take Egypt back to “the dark ages.” Shafiq said he would strive for a “modern, civil, fair state” while the Brotherhood “represents darkness and secrets and nobody knows who they are and what they do.”

Senior Brotherhood member Essam al-Erian said the attack proves Shafiq's “end is near,” calling him “a symbol of the defunct regime.”

Dozens of young men ransacked Shafiq's campaign offices in Fayoum – south of Cairo – overnight, the second such attack in recent days.