Cairo: The chief prosecutor in Hosni Mubarak`s trial accused the ousted Egyptian leader on Tuesday of imposing "tyrannical rule" and devoting the last 10 years of his three decades in power to ensure his son would succeed him.
Mustafa Suleiman`s comments came in the first of three days in which the prosecution will state its case against Mubarak and 10 other defendants, including his two sons, his security chief and a close associate of the ousted leader who is now a fugitive.
The trial began Aug. 3 but has been bogged down in procedural matters, including a demand by lawyers representing the victims that the presiding Judge Ahmed Rifaat be removed. That request alone took a separate court about three months to rule on and was eventually denied.
Mubarak is charged with complicity in the killing of more than 800 protesters in the crackdown on a popular uprising that forced him out of office on Feb. 11. The two sons, Alaa and one-time heir apparent Gamal, face corruption charges in the same case.
With his back to the defendants` cage, Suleiman delivered a scathing critique of Mubarak`s rule, branding the 83-year-old a corrupt man whose lust for power will for ever tarnish his legacy.
"He deserves an end of humiliation and indignity — from the presidential palace to the defendants` cage and then the harshest penalty," said Suleiman, whose hour-long comments mesmerized the courtroom, set up at a police academy that once bore the former leader`s name.
He said the corruption of Mubarak`s regime peaked shortly before the anti-Mubarak uprising broke out in January last year, when authorities engineered what is widely viewed as the most fraudulent parliamentary election seen in Egypt since the army seized power in a 1952 coup. Mubarak`s ruling party won all but a handful seats in the November-December vote in what Suleiman described as part of a strategy to succession.
A banker-turned-politician, Gamal began his climb to power in 2000. By the time the 18-day uprising broke out on Jan. 25, he was effectively in charge of the Cabinet and the ruling party, wielding more powers than the prime minister.
"Here we have a president who devoted the last decade of his rule to engineer something that no one in Egypt ever dared to do before — the succession of his son," said the prosecutor.
Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted of complicity in the killing the protesters.
Mubarak was succeeded by military generals beholden to the former leader for their ascent through the military ranks. They are led by a general who served Mubarak for 20 years as defense minister. Many within the protest movement believe Mubarak and his two sons were only arrested and put on trial under pressure from a series of massive protests to demand that the three be held accountable.
While the two sons are held in a prison south of Cairo along with nearly 40 stalwarts of the toppled regime, Mubarak has since his arrest in April been held in hospital under custody.