Egyptian judge stops live Mubarak trial broadcasts

Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Television cameras won't be allowed in the courtroom for the rest of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial, the presiding judge ruled Monday.

Judge Ahmed Rifaat adjourned the trial until Sept. 5, when Mubarak, his former security chief and six other senior officials are scheduled to face charges of conspiring to kill protesters during the mass uprising that ousted them from power.

State TV cameras had been allowed in the courtroom for the first two hearings, but Rifaat said he decided to ban them before summoning witnesses.

"It is in protection of the general interest," Rifaat said.

The decision was met with suspicion by Ramadan Ahmed, the father of a 16-year-old protester who was killed during the uprising.

"This is not correct. How can I be reassured and feel the justice," said Ahmed, who was refused access to the courtroom. "I want to see justice realized before my eyes."

But lawyers in the courtroom applauded Rifaat's decision. More than 100 lawyers are representing the families of the victims, prompting bickering among them, and accusations that some were attending in order to get on television.

"This decision pleases most of the lawyers who are really working on the case, not those who want the TV appearance," said Gamal Eid, who represents a number of families of slain protesters and watched Monday's hearing from his office. "This will give us the right to some calm and concentration and turns it again into a legal case, not a show."

Eid said more effort is now needed to ensure family members are allowed into the courtroom.

The ailing, 83-year-old Mubarak arrived in a helicopter from a Cairo hospital where he has been held since his first court appearance Aug. 3. He was wheeled into the metal defendants' cage on a bed with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, by his side. The sons are facing corruption charges.

The trial of Mubarak, who ruled with unquestioned power for 29 years, was one of the main demands of the protesters who forced him out of office Feb. 11. It came after weeks of protests and street pressure on the country's military rulers, who took charge after Mubarak stepped down.

After the session was adjourned, Mubarak's sons waved to supporters in the room before exiting the dock, pushing their father's stretcher. Mubarak was later escorted into a military ambulance and to his lockup in a hospital in a Cairo suburb.

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Associated Press Writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.

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