Panel implicates Mubarak
Probe: Ex-president okayed crackdown
FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 file photo, supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, riding camels and horses, fight with anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo, Egypt. Ousted President Hosni Mubarak watched the uprising against him unfold through a live TV feed, despite his earlier denial that he knew the extent of the protests and violence, according to a fact-finding mission member said Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, which could lead to the retrial of the 84-old ousted leader already serving a life sentence.(AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid, File)
FILE - In this June 2, 2012 file photo, Egypt's ex-President Hosni Mubarak lays on a gurney inside a barred cage in the police academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt. Ousted President Hosni Mubarak watched the uprising against him unfold through a live TV feed, despite his earlier denial that he knew the extent of the protests and violence, according to a fact-finding mission member said Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, which could lead to the retrial of the 84-old ousted leader already serving a life sentence.(AP Photo/File)
An Egyptian fact-finding mission determined that Hosni Mubarak watched the uprising against him unfold through a live TV feed at his palace, despite his later denial that he knew the extent of the protests and crackdown against them, a member of the mission said yesterday.
The mission’s findings increase pressure for a retrial of the 84-year old ousted president, who is already serving a life sentence for the deaths of 900 protesters. But its report could hold both political gains and dangers for his successor, Mohammed Morsi. A new prosecution of Mubarak would be popular, since many Egyptians were angered that he was convicted only for failing to stop the killing of protesters, rather than for ordering the crackdown.
But the report also implicates the military and security officials in protester deaths. Any move to prosecute them could spark a backlash from powerful generals and others who still hold positions under Morsi’s government.
Rights activists said they would watch carefully how aggressively Morsi pursues the evidence, detailed by a fact-finding mission he commissioned.
“This report should be part of the democratic transformation of Egypt and restructuring of security agencies,” Ahmed Ragheb, a member of the commission and a rights lawyer, told the Associated Press. “At the end of the day, there will be no national reconciliation without revealing the truth, and ensuring accountability.”
Morsi, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood, asked the commission to send the report to the chief prosecutor Talaat Abdullah to investigate new evidence, his office said yesterday.
Morsi recently appointed Abdullah to replace a Mubarak holdover who many considered an obstacle to strongly prosecuting former regime officials. Some judges criticized the appointment as a political move to continue to wield leverage over the prosecutor post.
The case will be a test whether Abdullah will conduct a thorough process of holding officials responsible. Some rights activists were already disappointed that Morsi didn’t empower the fact-finding commission itself to turn the investigations into prosecutions and avoid political influence.
The 700-page report on protester deaths the past two years was submitted yesterday to Morsi by the commission, made up of judges, rights lawyers, and representatives from the Interior Ministry and the intelligence, as well as families of victims.
Morsi formed the commission soon after coming to office in June as Egypt’s first freely elected president after campaign promises to order retrials of former regime figures if new evidence was revealed.
The trial of Mubarak and other figures from his regime left the public deeply unconvinced justice was done. The prosecution was limited in scope, focusing only on the first few days of the 18-day uprising and on two narrow corruption cases. Lawyers have since criticized the case as shoddy, based mainly on evidence collected by battered and widely hated police in the days following the uprising.
In the verdicts last summer, Mubarak and his two sons were acquitted on corruption charges. His former interior minister was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for complicity in the crackdown, while six top security aides were acquitted for lack of evidence.