Hosni Mubarak trial: 'Every Egyptian will tune in'

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to step down by a popular uprising in February, is due to appear in court on Wednesday, charged with corruption and ordering the killing of protesters.

The 83-year-old has been held under arrest at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April.

BBC News website readers in Egypt share their thoughts about this momentous event.

Zakaria Mohyeldin, Cairo

A year ago people were worried about harsh reprisals and sanctions from the regime if they dared to protest against political oppression.

Photo: Zakaria Mohyeldin

No-one could have predicted that the mass demonstrations which erupted earlier this year would prove to be disastrous for the Mubarak regime. Now he has been toppled and will stand trial along with others who were equally complicit in crimes against the Egyptian people. I still can not believe this is happening.

Most people imagined Mr Mubarak would have been granted an amnesty or given a hearing that focused on reconciliation rather than on real justice for the regime's countless victims.

Regardless of Mr Mubarak's failing health my friends and I firmly believe he should be held accountable and face a panel of judges. Egyptians want to see justice in action. It's an important building block for our fledgling democracy. If someone commits a crime they must be brought before the courts and punishment should be seen to be meted out regardless of their rank or office.

Some critics, such as Saudi Arabia have complained about the prospect of a long, drawn-out hearing. They have warned it is unnecessary and politically divisive. I resent all foreign interference. It is hard to overstate the importance of this trial.

It is a vital part of Egypt's transition from a police state to a democracy. If the rule of law is adhered to and Mr Mubarak is convicted - the ruling will touch a lot of people in Egypt. It will give many families peace and closure.

Many Egyptians blame Mr Mubarak for years of abuse, violence, injustice, high unemployment and poor living conditions. We were all furious to discover how much money had been squandered by his regime. Even if he tried to return some of the stolen money it would be too little too late.

Conversely, I have seen demonstrations in support of Mr Mubarak. Small crowds of less than 30 people gather together, calling for his release.

Few people sorry for Mr Mubarak's son's - perhaps only the ruling elite but not the masses. I don't think the courts will hand down the death penalty. Only those who directly suffered under his regime would desire his execution. Most people want to see him locked away. Exile would be a severe punishment too.

Emad Kamel, Qena

Start Quote

Emad Kamel

It is hard to discount some of the things Mr Mubarak has done for this nation”

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I live 30km south of Qena. I have always been anti-regime but not anti-Mubarak. Mr Mubarak has his faults, like any human being, but overall I believe that he is a politically astute and honourable man.

For years Mr Mubarak has been surrounded by scheming advisers. They were responsible for the atrocities committed by the regime. Mubarak's advisers acted as a buffer between him and his people. I think many Egyptians would agree with my assessment.

It is hard to discount some of the things he has done for this nation. Mr Mubarak brokered and signed the peace process with Israel and presided over an era of stability. There was political reform and he developed our infrastructure.

In Egypt we eat, we drink, we go out and we have a good transport system. Even after the turmoil of the last six months, our country is still working well in terms of transport, which means we had a robust system in the first place!

Mr Mubarak should not stand trial. I do not believe he ordered the killing of protesters. It seems implausibly that if he had the support of even 10% of the army he would have killed more people.

We should look at the evidence before passing judgement. Mr Mubarak stepped aside very quickly and in doing so avoided a civil war or worse. Leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad, who are killing their people, are still clinging to power.

Mr Mubarak's sons may also have had a role in bringing the country to ruin. If they are found to have committed some wrongdoing then the law should be applied.

I don't think the trial will end with execution. The Egyptian people are not seeking this sort of retribution. It's not in our nature as Egyptians to administer capital punishment. If it is proven that Mr Mubarak has committed wrongdoing then he should be punished according to the rule of law. He deserves a fair trial. We need to preserve the dignity of the process.

Nigel Hetherington, Cairo

The mood here is very strange following the clashes between the police and protesters in Tahrir Square. State media said the area had become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour and was plagued by people drinking illegally and damaging property.

A tightly regulated press helped to distort the truth and people were hoodwinked. Nothing gets Egyptians agitated more than the prospect of immoral activities.

The BBC's Jon Leyne saw clashes as the trial got under way

It is regrettable that only the state media has the right to broadcast the Hosni Mubarak trial. I hope this ruling will be overturned at some point. Every Egyptian will tune in.

Everyone in Egypt is still in a state of disbelief that Mr Mubarak is going to stand trial. It took everyone by surprise, even the most outspoken critics of the regime.

There has been much debate as to whether this will be a show trial, a political charade involving Mr Mubarak's former allies passing down a watered down form of punishment. There have been only a few trials since the former regime was overthrown. This has resulted in a few convictions or very lenient sentences.

If the current interim government is serious about administering justice then Mr Mubarak's wife should also stand in the dock beside him. She was deeply involved in the running of the regime and should be answerable to the Egyptian people. At least his sons will face the courts.

Surprisingly, older Egyptians still have fond memories of Mr Mubarak. They choose to remember him as a war hero who brought stability and peace to the nation. They feel he has been punished enough and they want move forward to the future.

Younger Egyptians are adamant he must be prosecuted for his crimes.

In the end, I think Mr Mubarak will be convicted for high treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. I don't think he will be exiled or sentenced to death.

There has been huge pressure on the Egyptian government to move towards a European model of human rights. The eyes of the world are watching how Egypt will prosecute its most wanted.

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