Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will stand retrial over the killings of demonstrators during the 2011 revolt that ended his 30-year tyrannical rule, the country’s highest appeals court ordered Thursday. It will be Mubarak’s third and final retrial in the case.
Overruling a previous verdict of a criminal court to drop charges against the ailing 87-year-old for his alleged involvement in the Arab Spring killings, the Court of Cassation set Nov. 5 as the date to start the fresh trial, Egyptian news network Ahram Online reported. It also upheld corruption charges against former interior minister Habib El-Adly and six security aides of Mubarak. Under Egyptian law, the rulings of the Court of Cassation are not subject to further appeals.
In November 2014, the criminal court had cleared Mubarak of the charges, citing the "inadmissibility" of the case due to a technicality, the Associated Press reported. The verdict was a setback for activists who headed the Arab Spring uprising in January and February 2011. Most of the activists now languish in jail or have withdrawn from politics.
However, the public prosecution appealed the decision that was accepted in Thursday’s ruling. The latest judgment has brought relief to Mubarak’s opponents who believed the courts were too lenient on the former leader. "I was sure of this ruling because there were many violations by the criminal court (which dropped the case). It confirms that the January revolution is claiming back its right," said Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a lawyer for the victims of the violence, Reuters reported.
In May, the ousted president was separately convicted for corruption charges and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. He is currently in the Maadi military hospital in Cairo due to his failing health. He has faced a series of trials and retrials over the killings and graft charges. The time he served in custody means he has already completed his jail term for the embezzlement case, in which he and his sons are accused of stealing around 21 million Egyptian pounds ($2.9 million), BBC reported.
According to human rights groups, the present Egyptian government under the leadership of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, is responsible for the deaths of far more unarmed demonstrators in comparison to those killed during the uprising, the Los Angeles Times reported. The recent killings are part of a crackdown on the now banned Muslim Brotherhood of Mohammed Morsi, who had won the country's first free presidential election in 2012, but was ousted by the current ruler in 2013. Sisi was elected president in 2014.
Since Morsi's ouster, the government views the Brotherhood as an Islamist extremist group. However, the organization has repeatedly asserted that it is committed to nonviolence.