Egypt: Hosni Mubarak and sons to be tried over deaths

Hosni Mubarak. File photo Hosni Mubarak is being held in a military hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh after reporting heart problems

Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are to be tried over the deaths of anti-government protesters, judicial officials say.

Mr Mubarak, who was ousted in February, is being detained at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

He and his wife also face allegations of illegally acquiring wealth while they were in power for 30 years.

The couple's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are being held in Cairo's Tora prison and also face fraud charges.

The three men have been charged with "premeditated murder of some participants in the peaceful protests of the 25 January revolution," the country's state news agency reported the prosecutor general as saying.

More than 800 people died in the weeks-long crackdown that preceded Mr Mubarak's departure.

The charges come after renewed calls for protests on Friday to demand the trial of the Mubarak family as well as the lifting of emergency law.

Analysis

Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa are accused of planning the killing of protesters in the revolution that began on 25 January. The aim, according to the accusation was to kill some and to intimidate others.

The former president is accused of accepting gifts, including a palace and four villas at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. He is also accused of conspiring with businessman Hussein Salem, who has also been charged, to sell gas cheaply to Israel and thus defraud the Egyptian government of many millions of dollars.

According to one report, a medical team is now visiting Mr Mubarak at the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to see if he is well enough to travel to Cairo - either to be moved to hospital in the capital or into the prison where his two sons are already being held.

Egypt's military-led administration appears to be responding to public pressure to bring the former first family to trial, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo.

Frozen accounts

The 83-year-old former leader was admitted to Sharm el-Sheikh's military hospital in April with reported heart problems.

He and his wife Suzanne - who was also recently examined for possible heart problems after falling ill - have already been questioned at the Red Sea resort on charges of profiteering.

Reformers in Egypt believe the Mubarak family accumulated a fortune worth tens of billions of dollars while in power.

The Mubaraks have denied this, and little hard evidence has yet been made public. However their bank accounts in Cairo and in Switzerland have been frozen.

Suzanne Mubarak was not mentioned in Tuesday's charges announcement, but her situation may have brought the latest development about, adds our correspondent.

Suzanne Mubarak Suzanne Mubarak was released from custody after handing over a villa and £2m from Cairo bank accounts

The 70-year-old was released from custody last week after she returned turned over a villa in a Cairo suburb and $3m (£1.9m) held in bank accounts in Egypt. Her release prompted a backlash, with many fearing the Mubaraks may be negotiating some form of amnesty.

More than 20 Mubarak-era ministers and businessmen linked to the regime have been detained since February's uprising.

Earlier this month, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years in jail on charges of money-laundering and profiteering.

Adly also faces separate charges of ordering troops to fire on demonstrators. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

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