Arab Strongman Mubarak Goes on Trial

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was wheeled into an improvised court in Cairo’s police academy on Wednesday to stand trial for murder and corruption.

His sons, Alaa and Gamal, will also be in the dock along with other defendants, including former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six police chiefs.

Businessman Hussein Salem, a close associate of the Mubarak family, is to be tried in absentia.

Mubarak was brought into court on a stretcher with a drip after being brought in an ambulance from a military airport. He had been flown to Cairo from hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, where he had earlier refused to leave his bed.

His lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, argues that Mubarak is to ill to stand trial, claiming that he is suffering from cancer and went into a coma last month. The hospital denies that is the case, although doctors say he is extremely depressed and weak after refusing food for several days.

More than 1,000 soldiers and police provided security at the complex in a Cairo suburb. About 600 lawyers and journalists have been authorised to attend.

Supporters and opponents of Mubarak clashed briefly outside the police academy.

The defendants are accused of stealing millions from the state and ordering the killing of anti-regime protesters during the 25 January uprising that ended Mubarak’s 20-year-old rule.