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Mubarak Trial Ends, Verdict Set For June 2

The trial of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ended at a court in the country's capital Cairo on Wednesday, with Judge Ahmed Refaat setting June 2 as the date for pronouncing his verdict.

Mubarak is charged with "premeditated murder of some participants in the peaceful protests of the January 25 revolution" as well as corruption and abusing public office. His two sons, Gamal and Alaa, are facing separate charges of corruption with their father in the same trial.

Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and six of his close aides are also on trial for the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. All defendants denied the charges, but Mubarak as well as Adli and his aides face the death penalty if convicted of the charges.

Although Mubarak turned down his final chance to address the court saying what his lawyers said in his defense was more than enough, Adli used the opportunity to blame "foreigners" for the deaths of protesters during last year's unrest.

Winding up the arguments on January 5, the prosecution demanded capital punishment for all the defendants on charges of complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the popular uprising.

Further, chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman told the court on Monday that the case against Mubarak and the other defendants was not "about the killing of one or 10 or 20 civilians, but a case of an entire nation."

But Mubarak's lawyer Farid al-Deeb insisted that his client had not ordered the security forces to open fire on protesters, pointing out that Mubarak had imposed a curfew in Cairo on January 28, 2011, ahead of transferring the responsibility to the Army chief.

Deeb also pointed out that these developments show that Mubarak could not have ordered the police or the Interior Ministry to open fire on protesters. In an earlier hearing, the lawyer had portrayed Mubarak as a "clean" leader who always acted within the law and "served Egypt for 60 years, 30 of them in the armed forces and 30 as the President of the Republic."

Some of Egypt's current and former political and military leaders have testified since the trial began in August. Notably, former Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who currently heads the ruling military council, testified in a closed-door session in September that Mubarak had never given orders to shoot protesters.

A government-appointed panel which looked into the violent incidents during the unrest estimates that as many as 846 people had been killed and some 6,000 injured in the suppression. Adli had already been sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption.

Mubarak was forced to step down from office on February 11, 2011 following mass protests across the country against his 30-year rule. Before quitting, Mubarak handed over the North African nation's control to the military.

About a dozen former Ministers and businessmen with links to the toppled regime have since been detained and are facing investigations over a number of allegations ranging from corruption and money laundering to abuse of authority and squandering state wealth. Some of them have already been convicted of the charges.

by RTT Staff Writer

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