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Mubarak trial won't be televised, judges rule

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Broadcasts stop from Mubarak trial
  • Some anti-Mubarak activists welcome the banning of cameras, but others are angry
  • Judges combine the cases against Egypt's former president and interior minister
  • The former president is charged with corruption and ordering killings
  • Amnesty International says more than 800 people died during the revolution against Mubarak

Cairo (CNN) -- The trial of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak will take place behind closed doors, Judge Ahmed Refaat announced Monday, citing "the public interest" as he barred television cameras from the court.

Judges also combined the case against Mubarak with that of former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, Refaat said.

Both men potentially face the death penalty if found guilty of ordering the killing of protesters in the revolution that toppled them earlier this year.

The trial will resume September 5, the judge said, giving officials more time to study evidence.

Some prominent Mubarak opponents welcomed the decision not to televise the trial until the announcement of the verdict.

"We need to move on with our lives and concentrate on the upcoming elections ... journalists attending hearings will channel the truth out," said Waleed Rashed, a founding member of the anti-Mubarak April 6 movement.

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Khaled Abu Bakr, a lawyer suing Mubarak in a civil case, said it would help "maintain objectivity" to keep cameras out.

But many people expressed anger about the decision, including Wael Omar, a founding member of Radio Tahrir.

"They could have done it for the testimonies for legal purposes, but we went a long way to get" transparency. "Maybe, they will at least broadcast certain recorded soundbites," he said.

Small crowds of Mubarak supporters clashed with opponents of the former Egyptian president Monday as he and his sons appeared at the court hearing.

The demonstrators threw rocks as security forces between them worked to restore order. Crowds were smaller than during Mubarak's first court appearance last week.

Self-described journalist Magde Fouda wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase, "I am an Egyptian and I reject the humiliation of the nation's leader." The "silent majority" of Egyptians still respect the deposed president, he said.

About 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the 18 days of uprising that toppled Mubarak, bringing an end to his 30-year reign, according to Amnesty International.

In addition to accusations of ordering the killing of protesters, Mubarak faces corruption charges. His sons Alaa and Gamal also face corruption charges. All three of them have pleaded not guilty.

As during a court appearance earlier this month, the ailing leader was wheeled into court on a hospital gurney Monday. He and his sons watched the proceedings from inside an iron cage -- a standard procedure in Egyptian criminal trials.

The former president's reaction to the rulings and noisy deliberations inside the courtroom was not clear. His eyes often appeared closed, while his son Gamal appeared irritated or annoyed, and Alaa was poker-faced.

The elder Mubarak was the first leader since this year's Arab Spring revolts to face a judge.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was tried in absentia after he was deposed in January and fled to Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, a judge postponed the trial of al-Adly, the former interior minister and a member of Mubarak's inner circle.

The judge adjourned al-Adly's proceedings after lawyers requested postponement of the hearing until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom, Ben Wedeman and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.

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