Egyptian courts Sunday heard separate court cases against former President Hosni Mubarak and top leaders of his archrival, the Muslim Brotherhood, both over allegations of killing protesters in separate instances.
Egyptian media portrayed the prosecution of longtime foes as “trials of the two regimes,” an attempt to show that both Islamists and secular- leaning Mubarak authoritarian regimes are alike after a July 3 military coup toppled President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member.
Weeks of mass rallies by Muslim Brotherhood supporters over Morsi’s ouster have weakened over the past days as security forces have detained many Brotherhood leaders. The military- backed government has responded by relaxing curfew hours.
“We have crossed the swamps and muddy pools, and now we are on the safe side,” Ahmed el-Musalamani, spokesman for the interim president, said Sunday.
At a heavily-fortified courtroom in eastern Cairo, Mubarak looked relaxed as he appeared for his first court appearance since he was released from prison last week and transferred to a military hospital. The 85-year-old ex-president sat next to his two sons, who are being tried in a separate corruption-related case.
Mubarak has been in detention since April 2011. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of some 900 protesters in the 18-day 2011 uprising, but his sentence was overturned on appeal. In April, his retrial opened along with those of his security chief and six top police commanders. His trial is postponed to Sept. 14.
In a separate hearing Sunday, top Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and five other members of the Islamist Brotherhood saw their hearings postponed until Oct. 29. The defendants, two of whom are still in hiding and being tried in absentia, face charges stemming from clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters June 30 that left nine dead. The four in detention were not present in the downtown Cairo courtroom for security reasons.
The military ousted Morsi after millions took to the street demanding he step down. He’s been held incommunicado since his overthrow. Prosecutors have accused him of conspiring with foreign groups to break out of prison during the chaos of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak. He also is being investigated in connection to another case of protesters’ killings in December.