If all goes ahead as planned ex-president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six security officials will appear in makeshift courtroom locked in an iron cage this Wednesday.
Mubarak is accused of graft and of ordering the killing of nearly 900 demonstrators who took to the streets during the 18-day uprising that ended when the country’s powerful military chiefs forced him to step aside. The courtroom is located at a Police Academy in Cairo that was once named after him.
The proceedings will be broadcast live on Egyptian television, giving millions in the country he ruled for three decades the opportunity to watch the trial. Egyptian trials were not traditionally broadcast, but high-profile cases since the uprising that ousted Mr Mubarak on Feb. 11 are now televised after protesters demanded more transparency.
Egypt’s health minister Amr Helmy said last week that Mubarak is well enough to stand trial, despite assertions from the 83-year-old’s aides that he is in failing health. Egyptian Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy said Sunday that officials were medically and logistically prepared to transfer Mubarak from the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he is hospitalized, to Cairo.
There are perceptions that the army leadership could yet still protect the Mubaraks, this plus the frustrations with the slow pace of reforms and continued economic hardships, have chipped away at the military’s popularity with Egyptians in recent months. The Judges who received their appointments during Mubarak’s reign will be presiding over the trial. Egypt’s top prosecutor, appointed by Mubarak, will submit the charges against him. If Mubarak is convicted, he will face sentences ranging from five years imprisonment to the death penalty.