Egypt's rival regimes in court, separately
CAIRO — Egyptian courts on 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 Mohamed Morsy, a Brotherhood member.
Weeks of mass rallies by Muslim Brotherhood supporters over Morsy'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, trying to signal a return to normalcy across the country.
“We have crossed the swamps and muddy pools, and now we are on the safe side,” said Ahmed el-Musalamani, an interim government spokesman.
He added: “We have overcome the tough phase.”
At a heavily fortified courtroom in eastern Cairo, Mubarak looked relaxed in dark sunglasses and white clothes as he made 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 in a chair 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 killings of about 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 police commanders. His trial has been postponed to Sept. 14.
Separately, hearings for top Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and five other members of the Islamist Brotherhood were postponed until Oct. 29. The defendants, two of whom are in hiding and being tried in absentia, face charges stemming from clashes outside the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters on June 30 that left nine dead. The four in detention did not appear in the courtroom for security reasons.