Nightly News | August 03, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now overseas, to what is by any measure a breathtaking fall from power. Hosni Mubarak was Egypt 's longest-serving ruler, 30 years, until he was toppled in the people's revolution in February. It was just this past February 1st when we arrived in Cairo to cover what was at first a joy-fueled protest, the start of Arab Spring . Then it turned violent. It ended up, though, turning Mubarak out of office, into exile in his own country. Well, today he was wheeled into a courtroom in Cairo to face justice, accused of conspiring to kill his own people; and from the start, he was defiant. NBC 's Martin Fletcher has our report.
MARTIN FLETCHER reporting: It is so hard to imagine Hosni Mubarak on trial, but outside the court this morning, Egyptians began hurling stones in anger, assuming the military wouldn't bring him. But the helicopter flew in from his hospital, and an
ambulance, and then this shocking historic image: Hosni Mubarak , 83 years old, once America 's great ally, called the modern pharaoh, helpless on a stretcher, locked in a metal cage. His two sons also charged with corruption, using their bodies to block cameras from filming their father.
Unidentified Man #1:
FLETCHER: The key charge today read, " Mubarak is accused of killing demonstrators during the uprising against him." Mubarak 's response:
Mr. HOSNI MUBARAK:
FLETCHER: He said, 'All these accusations, I deny them all.' If he is found guilty of ordering the shooting that killed 850 protesters, Mubarak could face the death penalty. Good, Imam Abdul Zahad said watching the trial on TV . Mubarak 's men shot him in the leg. He says, 'If I could strangle them, I would. Mubarak will die in the end.' Just about everybody with a TV right now is watching it. We're being taken now to the home of Ahmed .
Unidentified Man #2: My friend.
FLETCHER: Your friend, yes.
Man #2: He's 21.
FLETCHER: He's 21 years old. He was killed by Mubarak 's people. But Ahmed 's mother wouldn't talk to us. She says it's too painful. Another victim's mother did outside the courthouse. She said...
FLETCHER: ...'I didn't expect to see Mubarak in a cage, humiliated. Now I thank God . Now I can sleep.' Mubarak , behind bars, may warm the hearts of many Egyptians, but it sends a chilling message to Arab leaders, like Moammar Gadhafi in Libya who says he'll fight to the end, and Bashar Assad in Syria who says the same. Each has killed and wounded thousands of his own countrymen and could one day face the same fate as Hosni Mubarak . Martin Fletcher , NBC News , Cairo .