A dream fulfilled: Mubarak on trial
In the most sensational trial in Egyptian history, former President Hosni Mubarak, indicted for murder and corruption, was brought on a stretcher, to court in Cairo by helicopter from his Sharm al Sheikh hospital bed, today (Wednesday.)
The police then lowered their 83 year-old former Rais, into the iron-barred and steel-meshed cage of the accused. He is being tried together with his two sons (both once hailed as likely successors to the presidency,) his former Interior Minister, the widely hated Habib Al Adli, and six aides.
He was President of Egypt from the assassination of Anwar as-Sadat in 1981 until his Army forced his resignation on 11 February, after massive demonstrations against him.
Much of the poor hates him, as he and his family's fortunes were reported to have grown astronomically during his Presidency. He is accused of ordering the murder of protesters, which eventually brought about his downfall.
The building, protected by tanks and hundreds of soldiers, witnessed fights between his opponents and loyalists this morning. It used to be the "Mubarak Police Academy."
Egypt is currently ruled by a Supreme Military Council, consisting of Mubarak's senior military colleagues. A Spitfire pilot, Mubarak became Commander of the Egyptian Air Force and deputy Minister of Defence just before the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and claimed credit for Egypt's alleged victory.
Many believed the Council would not wish their colleague and friend, to whom they owed everything, humiliated by court proceedings. But the political pressure from the masses was intense. They have bayed for Mubarak's blood.
He is resented by Islamists for maintaining his predecessor's Peace Treaty with Israel, and for restricting their freedoms. One of them shot Sadat dead, as Mubarak, then Vice-President, stood by his side. Mubarak has been especially wary of them ever since.
Mubarak-foe Ayman Nour, who stood against him for the Presidency in 2005, but was then imprisoned for alleged corruption, expressed shock at seeing the former Rais in the cage.
"All the martyrs of this revolution can now lie in peace, because justice will finally be served," he added.
Witnessing the trials of Iraqi and Israeli Presidents Saddam Hussain and Moshe Katsav, gave many Egyptians the dream of calling their own President to Justice.
Today their dream is fulfilled.
Egypt's longest-serving President has been laid low.
Andrew M. Rosemarine is a multilingual international lawyer