Former President Hosni Mubarak returned to court Monday for the second session of his trial on charges of corruption and complicity in killing protesters during the mass uprising that ousted him from power.
The ailing, 83-year old Mubarak arrived in a helicopter from a Cairo hospital where he has been held since his first court appearance on Aug. 3 at a police academy that once been named after him. He was then wheeled into the metal defendants' cage on a bed with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, by his side. The sons are facing only 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 on Feb. 11. It came after weeks of protests and street pressure on the country's military rulers, who took charge after Mubarak stepped down, reports SignOnSanDiego.com.
Mubarak arrived by helicopter today and was ferried in an ambulance to the building in Cairo where the trial is being held. Wearing a blue top, he answered the judge who called out his name with "I'm here." For much of the time in the dock he had his eyes closed and hands over his chest. His sons stood beside him.
Mubarak, a key ally of the U.S. and Israel while in power, was also charged with abusing his office to acquire property for himself and his sons and selling natural gas to Israel at below- market prices. His sons were charged with corruption.
The trial comes as authorities struggle to repair the economy and grapple with demands for a transition to democracy. It may send ripples across the region, where opposition movements are fighting to emulate the success of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and to get rid of autocratic rulers.
Shown live on state television, the trial is taking place in a makeshift courtroom in a police academy that once bore Mubarak's name. The former ruler had previously been in custody in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, according to Bloomberg.
Mubarak is the first Arab leader to face trial in person since the so-called "Arab Spring" of popular revolts swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East this year.
A separate trial for Egypt's former interior minister and six deputies accused of giving orders that led to the killing of protesters resumed Sunday, but a judge abruptly ended the session citing "commotion" in the courtroom.
The judge adjourned that trial until September 5 after encountering multiple demands from lawyers for the plaintiffs, informs Voice of America.