|Hosni Mubarak (2nd-R) is seen here with wife Suzanne (C) and their two sons Gamal (R) and Ala’a (2nd-L) [AFP]|
Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, and his two sons will go on trial starting August 3 in a Cairo criminal court for alleged graft and for their suspected role in killing protesters, Egyptian state news agency has said.
According to a court official, Mubarak would be tried on charges of corruption and intentionally killing protesters during the 18-day uprising that ended his 30-year rule on February 11, the Middle East News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Judge Ahmed Rifat would preside over the trial of Mubarak and his sons, Ala’a and Gamal, at the North Cairo criminal court, a judicial source told the AFP news agency.
Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted on charge of “pre-mediated killing”- or having played a part in a crackdown that left more than 800 demonstrators dead, Egyptian justice minister said earlier this month.
Mubarak has been in custody at a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort town by the Red Sea coast, since April 13 after reportedly suffering a heart attack during questioning.
Mubarak was in no condition to be transferred to a prison hospital and would for now stay in the current health facility, Egypt’s public prosecutor said on Tuesday.
Ala’a and Gamal are being held in Torah prison on the outskirts of Cairo, the Egyptian capital.
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin said the medical team recommended against bringing the former president to a Cairo prison facility after examinations deemed his health “too unfit, too unwell” at this time.
“If indeed legal proceedings are to go forward … most likely and it could very well possibly be that the court goes to the former president at the hospital,” Mohyeldin said in his report from Cairo.
Public and transparent
Last week Mubarak was fined $90m for cutting of internet access and mobile phone services during the country’s massive protests which began in January.
A high-powered body of the country’s military, which has been running the country since Mubarak stepped down, has been under pressure from ordinary Egyptians to bring to justice officials of the ousted regime, known for corruption and authoritarianism.
Our correspondent said Egyptians wanted the trial to be public and transparent.
“People want to see the charges, people want the evidence brought forth and hear from the defendant himself, in a public and in a transparent manner,” he said.
While former regime officials have been put on trials which have “really been happening behind closed doors, with some of the actual victims unable to attend the actual trials, and more importantly, they are unable to see the evidence that is brought forward,” he reported.
Questions remain as to how Mubarak’s trial will be conducted – whether victims and their families will be allowed to attend and whether there will be access for media and international observers, but having a trial date is “in the eyes of many a very important step forward”, Mohyeldin added.