An Egyptian court on June 2 found former president Hosni Mubarak guilty of complicity in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising and sentenced him to life in prison. The court also found former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli guilty of the same charge and sentenced him to a life term. But corruption charges were dropped against Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal. And six senior security officials, including former head of the now-disbanded State Security Investigations service (SSI), were acquitted. During the protests that resulted in the overturning of his 33-year regime, Mubarak ordered government officials to use gunfire and other violent measures to subdue demonstrations, resulting in some 850 deaths. Mubarak's 10-month trial marks the first time a former Arab leader has been held accountable for his actions in a court of law.
But Amnesty International released a statement criticizing the verdict as failing to deliver full justice because Mubarak's sons and security officials were not punished for their alleged participation in the violence. Human Rights Watch also commented on Mubarak's sentence, believing the verdict sends a message to future Egyptian leaders that they are not immune from the law. (Jurist, June 2)
Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Cairo and other cities to vent their anger at the weak verdicts, with protests continuing a second night June 2. Mohamed Mursi, presidential candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, stood with the protesters and pledged to press new charges against Mubarak if he elected. Egypt's ruling military government said it would appeal the verdicts. (NYT, June 3)