Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Egyptians Cheer Mubarak's Historic Day in Court [VIDEO]

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Egyptians Cheer Mubarak's Historic Day in Court [VIDEO]

Article excerpt

Outside the courtroom where former President Mubarak appeared inside the defendant's cage today, one man waved a noose while others expressed satisfaction that justice was being served.

Egypt marked a historic first today when its former president, who ruled with an iron fist for nearly three decades, was wheeled on a gurney into a courtroom cage to stand trial.

Hundreds of Egyptians gathered outside the compound where the trial was held and burst into yells when they caught sight of him on the large screen where the proceedings were shown. "Thief! Thief!" some yelled. Others shouted, "Allahu akbar! (God is great!)" One man waved a noose in the air.

Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, and seven other defendants, including former Interior Minister Habib El Adly, face charges of killing protesters. The Mubaraks also face corruption charges.

"I never imagined this day would come," said Mohamed Gomaa. Sweating in fierce sun, he wore a gray suit and carried a large photo of his younger brother, Hussein, who was killed by police during protests on Jan. 28, just a few months before he was to marry.

"It was Mubarak's injustice that led him into this cage," said Mr. Gomaa, referring to the metal enclosure used for all Egyptian defendants. "I feel satisfied, but not all the way, because the sentence will make us satisfied."

The scene outside the courtroom was chaotic, as hundreds of Egyptians who had gathered to watch the proceedings in the blazing sun clashed with some who had come to support Mubarak. At least four times, the two sides began hurling rocks at each other only to stampede away as police in riot gear were sent in to separate them.

"The whole revolution was an American plot," said one of the pro- Mubarak protesters, a young man who only gave his name as Ahmed. "Mubarak made some mistakes," he said. "But we respect him."

In the courtroom, Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, stood near the former president, both holding copies of the Quran and at times blocking him from sight of the camera. …

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