Hosni Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison. But the point is he has been saved from the gallows.
The octogenarian politician and Egypt’s yesteryear strongman is, however, condemned as the chief judge made it a point to read out a preamble on his era before silencing him behind the bars for good. Justice Ahmed Refaat, in an unprecedented submission, which apparently goes beyond his writ, opined Mubarak’s era as ‘thirty years of darkness’ and praised the upheaval against him as a sign of ‘freedom and justice’. This could go down in history as a debatable verdict by virtue of leaning too much on the political side — and one way or the other ignoring the merits of prosecution. The fact that charges against two of the sons of the former president were dropped and they were acquitted comes as another bone of contention. At the same time, the court by acquitting police and security personnel from prosecution, who implemented the command as their duty, has defined the fine points of the revolution.
The sentencing of Mubarak and his interior minister Habib Al Adly for complicity in the killing of protesters hasn’t come to satisfy people across the board. It is, however, not due to the fact that there were any tears for them to roll or a section of society expected the court to be lenient. The point is that an overwhelming opinion was in favour of capital punishment for Mubarak and his henchmen — who shamelessly used indiscriminate force since the start of the uprising in January last year, and had their tales of terror as they reigned supreme for more than three decades. That is squarely reflected from the anger that is pouring on to the streets across Egypt, as people want to see justice is done and the dictator and his cronies made to pay for their crimes. The bitter aspect of the trial that continued for more than 10 months is that it revolves around a charge sheet that is limited to the events and incidents concerning the uprising, and the executive response of the yester regime.
Mubarak and his men are yet to answer the court of the people for the excesses they indulged in during their tenure, and especially those pertaining to corruption of the highest order, denial of fundamental rights and the persecution that millions of Egyptians were made to suffer. Whether that would happen or not remains a far cry. The 84-year-old ousted dictator is in none of his senses to stand trial and plead his case, even submissively. Notwithstanding, whether Mubarak’s family seeks recourse to an appellate court, the judgment has sealed his fate — and so to his era. The curtain has come down on a dictator — who might now have all the time on the earth to get nostalgic and repent. The justice system of Egypt and the people by standing firm behind a lawful order have written an epoch of resilience in revolution. Khaleej Times