Egypt Judge Bans Live Broadcast of Mubarak Trial

Trial of former Egypt President Hosni Mubarak and sons adjourned until September 5 to allow them to be tried with ex-interior minister Habib el-Adly and six ministry officials.

An Egyptian judge on Monday adjourned the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons until September 5 and banned live broadcasts of it.

The judge made his decision during the second session of the trial, after the first session earlier this month.

Hosni Mubarak on trial - AFP - August 3 2011

Judge Ahmed Refaat adjourned the trial in order to combine it with that of ex-interior minister Habib el-Adly and six ministry officials. All defendants are charged with ordering the killing of protesters earlier this year during protests that led to the ouster of Mubarak.

At least 850 protesters were killed in the uprisings during January and February of this year, and over 6,000 were injured.

Ahmed Fawzy, the head of the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, said that the decision to halt live broadcast of trials came at the right moment after two days of chaos inside the court.

“This is definitely in the interest of the case," Fawzy told the German Press Agency DPA.

On Monday, a dispute between lawyers of both sides took place inside the hall while the judge was in recess. There are roughly 200 lawyers representing hundreds of plaintiffs.

The day before, Refaat adjourned the case of el-Adly after chaos erupted due to interruptions by plaintiff's lawyers.

"We first asked for public trials because police prevented people inside the hall from seeing el-Adly in the cage (in the defence stand), and no one would have ever believed that Mubarak was actually on trial," said Fawzy.

Though the session will not be televised, all the plaintiffs’ lawyers and media professionals will be allowed inside the court hall, without cameras.

“This is good enough for now. Our next step is that we will ask for observers to be also allowed inside," Fawzy added.

Mohamed Adel, a spokesman of the April 6 movement, said that the judge's decision would bring some order to the court as the "lawyers who seek a media spotlight" would not show up.

Mubarak was carried into the cage on a hospital stretcher. He was wearing a blue training suit, unlike the first session when he was wearing a white prison uniform.

His sons, Alaa and Gamal, stood next to him and tried at times to conceal their father from the cameras. Gamal carried a copy of the Koran in his hand.

Mubarak, 83, appeared fully alert as he replied "present" when the judge called his name.
This is his second public appearance since he was toppled in February. He is currently being held at a military hospital near Cairo.

In the opening session of the trial on August 3, Mubarak and his sons had pleaded not guilty.

During Monday's session, Mubarak's lawyer Farid el-Dib asked for official ambulance reports for the period of January 25-31 and copies of interrogation records of the defendants.

One of the lawyers representing the families of the victims, who has asked the judge to combine the murder cases against Mubarak and el-Adly into one case, also asked the judge to separate criminal murder charges against Mubarak from corruption charges against him and his sons into two separate legal cases.

Mubarak, his sons and Hussein Salem, a fugitive businessman, also face charges of corruption and abusing the use of public funds. They are accused of selling Egyptian exports to Israel at prices lower than market value.

Outside the court, located in the Police Academy on the outskirts of Cairo, clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters, who threw rocks at each other.

A few people were injured despite the tight security outside the court, with riot police stationed between the two groups.

Dozens of Mubarak's supporters carried pictures of him, while protesters, calling for a speedy trial and retribution, carried Egyptian flags.