Mubarak arrives at court for verdict hearing
6/2/2012 9:50:00 AM -
CAIRO (AFP) - Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak arrived on Saturday by helicopter at a court where he will face sentencing over his alleged involvement in the killing of demonstrators.
Mubarak, wearing dark sunglasses, was then transported by ambulance to the courthouse on the outskirts of Cairo, where he was taken inside on a stretcher.
Mubarak, the only autocrat toppled in the Arab Spring to be put in the dock, former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six others could face the gallows if convicted of ordering the deaths of some of the estimated 850 people killed.
Chief Judge Ahmed Rifaat is expected not only to issue a verdict but also pass sentence on those who are convicted.
Mubarak, his sons Alaa and Gamal and business associate Hussein Salem, who fled to Spain, are also on trial over an alleged bribe.
His two sons had already arrived at the courthouse earlier on Saturday, according to the official MENA news agency.
Mubarak has been detained in hospital since his arrest last year after the military, which took power after he resigned, appeared to bow to popular protests demanding that he and former regime officials be put on trial.
But the military insists the prosecution's investigations and the charges eventually filed were independent judicial decisions.
However, critics say the investigations were hasty and sloppy, resulting in a trial based on patchwork evidence that may see Mubarak acquitted.
During the trial, Mubarak was wheeled into the lecture hall that serves as a courtroom on a stretcher. He reportedly suffers from a heart condition, but the health ministry has denied his lawyer's claim that he has cancer.
Along with Adly, Mubarak's co-defendants include six former police commanders.
They have all denied that they ordered police to shoot protesters or use deadly force during the uprising, in which demonstrators torched police stations across the country.
The verdict comes just two weeks before a run-off in presidential elections that will pit Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi in a highly polarising race.
It is the first openly contested presidential election in any of the Arab countries swept by regional protests and uprisings that challenged decades of autocratic rule.
But the revolt also led to a deteriorating economy and increased lawlessness in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, that has helped Shafiq, a symbol of Mubarak's regime, win a surprising amount of support.