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Mubarak Sentenced to Life in Prison
June 2, 2012

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Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for decades, has been sentenced to life in prison. Mubarak was convicted of being an accessory to the killings of more than 240 unarmed demonstrators in January 2011.

Mubarak, 84 and suffering from ill health, heard the verdict while seated in a cage in the courtroom with his fellow defendants, including Habib el-Adly, the former interior minister.

A three-judge panel delivered the verdict, after a few weeks of testimony and months of delay. The panel dismissed corruption charges against Mubarak and his sons.

The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for Mubarak, saying that they had direct proof that Mubarak had given the orders to fire on the demonstrators. But the judges found that the prosecution's case was not strong enough and instead delivered the verdict of life in prison. Mubarak can certainly appeal the decision, and many observers fear that the verdict will be reversed on appeal.

The panel, all of whom were appointed by Mubarak, acquitted other officials more directly responsible for the troops who fired on the demonstrators.

In response, tens of thousands of angry Egyptians filled Cairo's Tahrir Square, which was filled with cries of injustice anew. Many protesters reacted with disbelief that Mubarak and his sons were not convicted on corruption charges.

The verdict could affect the presidential election, the runoff for which takes place June 16-17. The two candidates in the runoff are the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, and Ahmed Shafiq, who was the last prime minister under Mubarak and, therefore, was in a high position in the government when the demonstrators were killed.

Mubarak, meanwhile, was flown to a Cairo prison, there to await the expected numerous appeals and possible new trial.



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