Egypt Prosecutor to Appeal Mubarak Verdict as Protests Mount

Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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(full writethru replacing Mubarak 8th UPD from Saturday))

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.

Thousands took to the streets in protests that lasted all night in Cairo's Tahrir Square – the center of the revolution – and other cities, demanding everything from a retrial to the death penalty for Mubarak. Many people were furious about the acquittals of corruption charges. They suspect the vast wealth allegedly accumulated by the Mubarak family would remain in its hands.

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

On Saturday, jubilant opponents of Mubarak embraced and wept outside of the Cairo courthouse as guilty verdicts on some counts were announced. But the joy turned quickly into anger as the implications of the court's decision were absorbed and the chance they could be easily overturned became clearer.

Meanwhile, Egyptian state media say Mubarak suffered an unspecified “health crisis” after the verdict. 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 the next president. The first presidential elections since his Mubarak's ouster pit Islamist Mohammed Morsi against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under the former president.

Early Sunday, a group of protesters ransacked Shafiq's offices in Fayoum city south of Cairo. Local authorities say the attack could have been sparked by earlier demonstrations by Egyptians who wanted Mubarak executed.