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Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in the dock

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Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in the dock


On February 11 this year, it was time to say goodbye for long-time Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

Having hung onto office in the face of protests, he finally abandoned his palace, his presidency and wealth, flying away in a helicopter to an uncertain future.

Three months on, he has been ordered to stand trial on charges including “premeditated murder.”

After Tunisia, it was Egypt’s turn to make history in the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’

Mass protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere demanded freedom, democracy, better living standards and Mubarak’s departure. But the price paid was a heavy one. A crackdown claimed more than 800 lives.

Ousting the president however was not enough.

With years of pent-up rage unleashed, Egyptians continued to demonstrate, this time demanding that the former first family be made to face justice.

Hence the “intentional murder” charges facing the ex-leader and his sons Alaa and Gamal over the violent repression of the revolt. This, as well as allegations they abused their power to line their pockets. Mubarak’s wife Suzanne has also been questioned amid claims the family amassed a fortune worth tens of billions of euros.

While she has been released from custody, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak are behind bars in Cairo. Their father is detained in hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, after suffering reported heart problems.

Many Egyptians had speculated that the military rulers now in charge were protecting one of their own. Mubarak was a decorated air force commander before becoming president.

News that he will be tried came ahead of another planned demonstration demanding he face justice.

For 30 years, Hosni Mubarak was Egypt’s figurehead, symbolising the country’s strength and stability.

But for a new generation, not afraid to express itself, he embodied the arrogance of power. They believe Mubarak must be tried like a common criminal, with the death penalty hanging over him.

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