Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, could face execution if he is convicted of charges that he ordered his security forces to kill anti-government protesters during the unrest earlier this year that eventually toppled his regime.
The comment was made Zakaria Shalash, head of Cairo's Appeals Court, to the al-Ahram newspaper. He also said a trial against Mubarak and his family could last more than a year.
About 800 protesters were killed during the January uprising, many at the hands of government security officers.
During an earlier trial, former interior minister Habib al-Adly suggested that the government did order the killing of anti-government protesters. Such a confession might make Mubarak an accomplice to murder.
If these charges are proved in the court, [Mubarak] could face the same punishment as the person who carried it out and it can’t be anything less than execution, Salash said.
However, Salash added that if it’s proven than Mubarak didn’t act in a pre-meditated fashion, the court might show some lenience.
Mubarak will also likely face charges of corruption and theft.
Meanwhile, Egypt's prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud ordered the transfer of Mubarak from a civil hospital to a military medical facility, pending a potential move to prison, according to state media.
Mubarak would be provided with the health care he needs and security measures suitable for a temporary prisoner, Mahmoud said.
Media reports claim that Mubarak is being moved to the military hospital in Hadayk-al-Quba in Cairo.
Once Mubarak’s health improves, Mahmoud will order his removal from the hospital to a prison.
However, Mubarak is 82 years old and reportedly in failing health. Egyptian officials have already rejected a request by Mubarak’s lawyers to have him sent to Germany for medical treatment.
Mubarak allegedly suffered a heart attack earlier in the week during interrogation by prosecutors.
Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal have been remanded to 15-days custody. The sons are in Cairo's Tora prison, where many other former ministers and regime officials are being held.