Egypt's legal experts await more evidence on Mubarak's retrial

Ahram Online, Monday 14 Jan 2013

Both Judges and lawyers in Egypt share different views on whether more defendants and new evidence will be considered in the Mubarak retrial

Former president Hosni Mubarak (Photo: AP)

The cassation court's order on Sunday to retry ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister Habib El-Adly has been received differently by legal experts regarding whether or not the re-trial could include new evidence and possibly new defendants.

The two defendants were both sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to kill protesters during the 18-day uprising. In a separate trial, Adly was also convicted of corruption charges.
Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, a prominent Egyptian judge and former head of the Judges club, told Al-Ahram's Arabic website on Sunday that he expects new evidence and defendants for the judicial panel to consider when deliberating their verdict.

"The cassation court’s decision is highly important for it will allow the criminal court which oversees the re-trial to bring more defendants to the case," Abdel- Aziz said.

He added that the criminal court would have the right to implement Article 11 from the code of criminal measures.

Under Article 11, the court has the right to include new defendants and evidence; and if there is crime or misdemeanor related to the charges being looked into, then the court also has the right to file a lawsuit against the new defendants or refer to the new evidence being considered.

Judge Abdel-Aziz also said that the new trial could be carried on in parallel with the former trial along with a report issued by a fact-finding committee that is supervised by a team of prosecutors who work under the emblem of 'safeguarding the revolution'.

The supervisory team is assigned to investigate reports issued by the fact-finding committee in regards to the assault, killing and attempted murder of protesters.

"The evidence that was handed down initially in the trial was done so in haste and the prosecution responsible of the investigation admitted that the security apparatuses were not cooperative in finding any evidence," Abdel-Aziz said.

Abdel-Aziz believes that it is from this fact-finding commission that could deliver new evidence in the retrial.

However, Emad Mubarak, an Egyptian lawyer and director of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, said the fact-finding committee was vague in its discoveries, only giving indications of assault, but not evidence.
The lawyer rejected the court's ruling as having either a positive or negative indication, stating that accepting an appeal was a normal procedure taken by any court that finds flaws in the way court proceedings were handled.

Mubarak told Ahram Online that he does not expect a verdict any different from the one issued last June.

Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said the acceptance of the appeal was expected.

"For such a loose trial, the decision is good in general. However it could allow the punishing of other criminals and there is a possibility that new defendants could be added to the case," Eid said via his twitter account.

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