Hosni Mubarak trial set to begin in Egypt

An Egyptian anti-Mubarak protester holds up scales in front of riot police in Cairo in September, 2011

Story highlights

  • The verdict date will depend on how long defense and victims' lawyers take
  • Mubarak could learn his fate before the end of the month, a lawyer says
  • Mubarak is charged with ordering the killing of protesters
  • Many Egyptians are critical of the court proceedings and worry he may be acquitted

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, accused of ordering protesters killed, could face a verdict before the end of the month, a lawyer involved in the trial said Monday.

"I expect a verdict before January 25, the anniversary of the revolution," lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr said, referring to the beginning of the uprising that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule in February.

Prosecutors will have three days to present their case starting Tuesday, said Abu Bakr, a civil rights lawyer representing families of the victims.

Adel Saeed, an official spokesman for the general prosecutor's office, confirmed that there is "a possibility" of a verdict by January 25, depending on how long prosecutors and lawyers for the victims and the defense take to present their cases, plus the time the judge needs "to review all the documents and evidence presented."

The former president also faces corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Mubarak was wheeled into court in a gurney Monday for a brief hearing that was described as "procedural," to allow a judge to decide on specific requests presented by the lawyers during last weeks' session, Abu Bakr said.

Many Egyptians are critical of the court proceedings and some worry that Mubarak may be acquitted of the murder charges. Five police officers accused of killing protesters were acquitted last week.

    The killings in question took place in front of a police station near downtown Cairo during January 28 and 29.

    "Most people panicking after the verdict do not know that two families of the victims involved in this case have withdrawn the charges against the officers, " Abu Bakr said. " Their case was considered self-defense because the officers were defending their police station, which is different than the cases of those protesters killed by snipers from a distance in Tahrir (Square,)" the center of protests against Mubarak.

    Mubarak's health has been in question since his detention began in April 2011 after reports of his cancer and heart problems surfaced in the media.

    Hauled away from the courthouse on his hospital gurney, Mubarak hid his face and covered his eyes from TV cameras.

    Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El Adly, six of his aides and two of Mubarak's sons are also on trial on a variety of charges.

    Sons Gamal and Alaa, who also were present in the courtroom's cage, have also pleaded not guilty.

    The trial is expected to resume "almost daily" starting this week, as announced by the judge handling the case during its previous session.

    About 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the 18 days of uprising that toppled Mubarak, according to Amnesty International.

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