Mubarak Verdict: Life In Prison
Judge Ahmed Rifaat delivered the conviction and sentence Saturday. He opened the court with a statement:
“The people released a collective sigh of relief after a nightmare that did not, as is customary, last for a night, but for almost 30 black, black, black years — darkness that resembled a winter night.
“The revolution by the people of Egypt was inspired by God. They did not seek a luxurious life or to sit atop the world, but asked their politicians, rulers and those in authority to give them a decent life and a bite to eat. They peacefully demanded democracy from rulers who held a tight grip on power.”
Yet, despite his apparent sympathy for the uprising, and although he sentenced both Mubarak and Habib Adli, Mubarak’s former interior minister, to life in prison, Rifaat refused to sentence Mubarak to death, six ex-police commanders were acquitted of all charges, and Mubarak and his sons were acquitted of corruption charges.
He acquitted the police commanders because, he said, the prosecution did not prove with material evidence that the police killed the protestors. “Because those who pulled the trigger have not been arrested, he added, he could not convict any of the top police officers of complicity in the killing of the protesters,” Newsday reports.
Some believe that Mubarak and Adli will be acquitted on appeal. One family member of a man killed during the uprising in 2011 said, “If the court didn’t find the police officials who ordered the shooting guilty, then Mubarak and Adli’s verdict will be overturned.”
Mubarak was not convicted on the basis of his having ordered the killings of the protesters, but on the basis of not having used his power as president “to stop days of bloodshed,” according to the LA Times.
While Rifaat read the historic conviction and sentence against Mubarak, the ex-president “sat stone-faced and frowning in the courtroom’s metal defendants’ cage…showing no emotion with his eyes concealed by dark sunglasses.” However, after the sentence was read, Mubarak reportedly suffered a “health crisis,” and was admitted to a prison hospital.
Once the crowd gathered outside the courtroom was informed of the verdict, joy turned to anger. Voice of America reports:
“Jubilant Mubarak opponents initially embraced and wept outside of the Cairo courthouse as the verdicts were announced, but the mood changed when it became clear that the former president and other former officials had not been convicted on all charges.”
The fact that Mubarak had only received a life sentence, as opposed to a death sentence, outraged the crowd as well. Some shouted, “We want execution!” As the crowd outside the courthouse became angrier, police clashed with protestors when they prevented the demonstrators from entering the court.
Thousands have gathered in cities like Cairo and Alexandria to protest the verdicts. A call has been made for a massive demonstration at Tahrir Square Saturday.