Mubarak verdict and sentencing to be broadcast live

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, June 1, 2012 7:27 EDT
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Hosni Mubarak on stretcher via AFP
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Egyptian state television will broadcast live the verdict and sentencing on Saturday of ex-president Hosni Mubarak, his sons and security chiefs in a murder and corruption trial, official media reported.

State television will charge foreign media between $7,000 and $10,000 to buy the coverage, the official MENA news agency quoted the head the of the state’s Egyptian Radio and Television Union, Tharwat al-Mekki, as saying.

The first several hearings in the trial, which started in August, were broadcast live, but chief judge Rifaat Said then ordered cameras out before witnesses began to take the stand.

Mubarak and his security chiefs are charged with murder over the killings of protesters during the 18-day revolt that overthrew him on February 11, 2011.

He shares corruption charges with his sons Alaa and Gamal.

The trial is taking place in the police academy that was once named after Mubarak on Cairo’s outskirts.

In the opening hearing, dramatically aired live to millions in Egypt and abroad, Mubarak made his first public appearance since his ouster arriving on a stretcher.

A camera zoomed in on him as he fidgeted with his nose but mostly lay prone while his two sons Alaa and Gamal tried to obscure him from view.

Security officials said 5,000 policemen and 2,000 soldiers will secure Saturday’s session and Mubarak’s transport from a military hospital where he is detained. He will arrive in the academy on board a medical helicopter.

The 84-year-old former strongman, who receives treatment for a heart condition, was wheeled into the defendants’ cage on a stretcher in past hearings, usually covered in a blanket.

His two sons Alaa and Gamal, both in white prison uniforms, stood by him, sometimes whispering to him when he apparently could not make out what the judge or witnesses said.

Over the 36 hearings, journalists, some relatives of the alleged victims and their lawyers were banned from bringing in cell phones to the court room.

Most of the benches in the lecture hall that serves as a court room were filled by often napping riot police conscripts in civilian clothes, while a few Mubarak supporters managed to gain entry as well.

Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six police commanders face the death penalty if convicted on the murder charges. Some 850 people died in the uprising.

Observers say the verdict may have an impact on a presidential election run off on June 16-17 between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and Mubarak’s last premier Ahmed Shafiq, who pledges he will not revive the dictator’s era.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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