Egypt opens old wound with Mubarak retrial

Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:31am EST
 

By Marwa Awad and Maria Golovnina

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt ordered a retrial of deposed president Hosni Mubarak on Sunday after accepting an appeal against his life sentence, opening up an old wound in the painful transition from decades of authoritarian rule.

Mubarak, 84, was ousted in 2011 after 30 years in power and jailed for life last year over the killing of protesters by security forces trying to quell a mass street revolt.

He was the first Arab ruler to be brought to court by his own people.

A Cairo court granted Mubarak and his former interior minister the appeal as Egypt prepares to mark the second anniversary of the uprising on January 25.

The retrial is likely to stir emotions and could plunge the government of new President Mohamed Mursi into dangerous waters as he tries to restore law and order and a wrecked economy.

Egypt remains volatile as it prepares for a parliamentary election in the next few months. Anxiety over the economy is on the boil after protests, often violent, in late 2012 prompted citizens to snap up hard currency and take out savings.

During Mubarak's 10-month trial, many protesters accused the then ruling generals and officials seen as loyal to the ousted president of protecting him. A retrial may revive calls for a deeper purge of those viewed as holdovers from the old era.

"The court has ruled to accept the appeal filed by the defendants ... and orders a retrial," Judge Ahmed Ali Abdel Rahman said.   Continued...

 
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits inside a cage in a courtroom in Cairo June 2, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer