After being long waited, the verdict on Egyptian ex-president Husni Mubarak was finally announced. As expected, it was impossible to sentence Mubarak to death, partially because his age; some 84 years. Other reasons pertain to international laws and Egypt's foreign relations, to the man's position as a former friend of many western countries, to the Military Council's (MC) being under moral obligation toward former president, and, most important, to the evidence the court had in hands. In the verdict, it was stated that "Mubarak's giving orders to open fire on demonstrators", but the court imposed a life sentence on him for not using his authority to prevent gunfire on them.
On this basis Mubarak was given a life sentence. However, based on whereases under which it was handed down, this sentence would be liable to reduction as being appealed. If findings and proofs of how Mubarak was involved in oppressing the revolution and fighting rebels are not supported, it is undoubtedly that the sentence will likely be reduced to a certain years – perhaps five – while taking in consideration the ex-president's age and health condition and the like of such legal and ethical justifications.
Nonetheless, the verdict brought in against Mubarak has pleased most of the Egyptian people. The mere facts that he was put behind bars and tried have quaked not only Egypt, but the whole Arab World; since he is the first Arab leader to be tried and sentenced in presence, after stepping down from power following a popular uprising against him. The verdict against his interior minister, Habib al-Adly, was somehow satisfactory; since Egyptians always saw him as their enemy because of the countless disreputable violations that used to be committed against ordinary Egyptians in police stations, and that had nothing to do with a political activity or affiliation. On the other hand, the strange and unclear aspect of the verdict is the acquittals for Mubarak's aides. Under the legal bases on which al-Adly received a life sentence, his aides – all of them commanding officers – were supposed to get, though lighter sentences, but not acquittals.
Irrespectively, it is safe to say that the Judge and Jury had their considerations in rendering the verdict. The Egyptian civil judiciary largely always maintained a bright history and good reputable integrity over long past years, despite all attempts by regime to penetrate and subjugate. This does not mean that it was completely healthy, for there are some judges, as the case in the third world, acquiescing to glamors causing many violations that harm judiciary prestige.
Some, however, believe that the panel of judges who brought in the verdict is above suspicions and its members are well-known of integrity. The ruling Military Council was actually in need for such jury to judge in a very sensitive lawsuit like the one of Mubarak, in order for impartiality of judgments made to not be subject to doubts or challenge. Hence, political tampering was done prior to the trial; by collecting weak evidences and deliberated findings that necessarily lead to such verdicts. The Court was unwillingly before apparently authentic documents it can but accept, though insufficient to pass rulings beyond their limitations.
For example, Mubarak and his two sons were not acquitted, of being bribed with villas for facilities, because the case had not happened, but because claims to the lawsuit extinguished and no longer applicable – the event took place ten years ago – in accordance with the Egyptian Law. Ironically, the corruption case over which the ex-president's sons were prosecuted is this old one, as if they took a route free of corruption and influence-exploitation through which they made illegal wealth many times more than what they obtained during those early years.
Here is the imperfection. A court can decide only on a proceeding filed to it. The public prosecution's relevant office had to investigate into all corruption cases. Is it reasonable to sentence Zakaria Azmi the manager of Mubarak's office – for instance – to seven years in jail for minor corruptions, while Ala'a and Jamal Mubarak are acquitted?
I have no doubt that the MC was not willing to bring Husni Mubarak and his family to justice. It [the council] wanted to protect a president it considers as a symbol of the military institution, which maintained its prestige and pure image throughout the past six decades, despite its keenness to continually hold the reins of power through a leader from its cadre, as was the case since the 1952 July Revolution until January 2011.
Over more than one year and 3 months, the MC kept concerned with two matters: first, how to save president Mubarak's face through a trial acquitting him of many accusations that defames his history connected to the military institution. Second, how to bring a new president from the same institution via fair, free and democratic elections through whom it can surely retain, not only the dignity of ex-president, but also the position and prestige of military institution.
While it by far succeeded in the first matter – by the public prosecution's adapting weak-evidenced whereases for Mubarak's trial, as most of Egyptian jurists said – this may lead to the MC's failure in the second issue, in which it is about to succeed through the success of lieutenant general Ahmed Shafiq (the latest prime minister in Mubarak's government and one of the military institution's figures) in reaching the run-off of the Egyptian presidential elections, whose first round was fair. This is because the acquittals of Mubarak's sons and aides provoked most of the Egyptians, so rebels returned to squares to revive the 25 January Revolution. This may cause them unite behind Mohamed Mursi, the candidate of Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood), in the face of Ahmed Shafiq, what was not expected the MC.
Thus, the next nine days will obviously show the new tactics to be used by the MC to save as much as it can of its policy that it has adopted over the past 16 months.