Image: An anti-Mubarak protester outside the police academy, on the outskirts of Cairo
Khaled Desouki  /  AFP - Getty Images
An anti-Mubarak protester outside the police academy, on the outskirts of Cairo, where the former president appeared in court Monday. news services
updated 1/2/2012 8:47:22 AM ET 2012-01-02T13:47:22

The trial of Hosni Mubarak resumed on Monday amid speculation that a recent acquittal of policemen tried for killing Egyptian protesters could be a prelude to the dismissal of charges against the ousted leader.

Mubarak faces charges of complicity in the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's uprising that toppled his 29-year regime.

The 83-year-old ailing Mubarak was brought by helicopter to the Cairo courthouse from a hospital where he is held in custody.

He was then taken into the defendants' cage on a gurney, wearing dark sunglasses and covered by a green blanket.

Lawyers for the dead have demanded that Mubarak be transferred to a prison in south Cairo where the other defendants are held because his journey from the military hospital in a helicopter costs the state 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($82,000) each time.

Another Cairo court on Thursday acquitted five policemen of charges of killing five protesters during the Jan. 25-Feb. 11 uprising in the capital's district of el-Sayedah Zeinab. The court said three of the defendants were not at the site of the killings while the other two fired against protesters in self defense.

Families' anger
The ruling angered families of the victims. Activists demanded that the killers be brought to justice and complained that similar cases are languishing in courts in several Egyptian cities.

On trial with Mubarak are his two sons, Gamal, his one-time heir apparent, and Alaa, along with the ousted leader's former security chief and six top police commanders. The Mubaraks face additional corruption charges in the same case.

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The trial began Aug. 3 but has since been bogged down in procedural matters, including a demand by lawyers for the victims that the presiding judge, Ahmed Rifaat, be removed. That request alone took a separate court about three months to rule on.

The acquittal of the police officers in el-Sayedah Zeinab and the relatively long time the Mubarak trial is taking before even starting to deal with the core of the charges against him have led many activists to brand the proceedings a farce, organized by the generals who took over power when the longtime leader was ousted.

The generals are led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's defense minister for the last 20 years he spent in office.

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The activists believe the generals remain beholden to the Mubarak regime, and only placed the former president and his two sons under arrest after mounting pressure by protesters.

The Mubaraks were arrested in April, two months after the ouster of the regime. Activists believe this was long enough for the three to conceal evidence of their alleged involvement in either the killings or corruption.

In a country still grappling with political chaos and an economic crisis almost a near since the uprising began, many people believe national renewal will be impossible unless justice is achieved for those killed and their families.

No official has been convicted over the killing of protesters during the 18-day revolt.

Mubarak and the other defendants deny any responsibility for the deaths.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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