Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appeared in a Cairo court Wednesday to face charges of corruption and the killing of almost 900 anti-government protesters during February’s popular revolution that ousted him from power. Mubarak pleaded not guilty, declaring, "I deny all these accusations completely." If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
The reportedly infirm Mubarak, who had been on hunger strike recently, appeared on a hospital bed, prompting criticisms that he is vying for sympathy. True or not, it was apparently effective on some of his Western apologists like former Bush administration official Elliot Abrams who said, “It would be wrong to execute him,” seeming to dismiss Egyptians’ say in the matter.
The televised event stimulated protests outside the courthouse, where clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups became violent, eventually prompting the military to disperse the crowds as happened Monday in Tahrir Square.
The United States continues to support the Egypt’s ruling military council with both cash aid and arms and questions have arisen over the extent to which U.S. support for the crimes of Mubarak’s regime is itself an indictable offense. While prosecution, or any consequence whatever, is unlikely to befall supportive American officials, Mubarak, his two sons, and other regime officials are expected to face a swift verdict.