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Ex-Egyptian President Mubarak goes on trial

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Mubarak on trial in Cairo

  • NEW: Mubarak arrives in Cairo aboard a helicopter
  • Clashes erupt between protesters and supporters outside the trial venue
  • Mubarak faces charges of corruption and ordering the killing of anti-government protesters
  • He has denied the charges

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — Deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for his trial on corruption and murder charges — the first Arab leader to face a judge since the uprisings started in the region this year.

Mubarak made the short trip to the Cairo police academy — the venue of the trial — in a helicopter after taking a military plane equipped with medical equipment from Sinai to Cairo.

A convoy that included an ambulance had taken Mubarak to the Sinai airport from a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The crowd went wild as the helicopter hovered over the police academy, with some running in its direction and clapping.

Hundreds of protesters gathered, with some waving flags and photos of the embattled leader. Gunfire erupted as clashes broke out between his supporters and anti-Mubarak demonstrators. The two sides chased each other, hurling rocks and bottles.

Several people were carried away in ambulances.

“How is the army letting this happen? Where is the unprecedented security they promised?” said Nevein Rashed, as she took cover behind a van.

Mubarak set to face trial

I came here to watch this historic moment with other people. This has never happened before in Egypt
–Basma Nasr

When the brief clashes subsided, riot police stood watch as dozens of pro-Mubarak supporters — wearing T-shirts that read “I am Egyptian, I will not insult my president” — chanted.

“Mubarak is a symbol of Egypt,” said Entessar Ahmed, 14, a supporter of the former president who was among the crowd outside the police academy.

“If there were 30 years of corruption, then every Egyptian should be sentenced because they let it happen.”

Some welcomed the former leader’s trial but didn’t think anything will come of it.

“I believe that he will not be sent to jail, he will find a way to leave the country in one month,” said Basma Nasr, 20.

“I don’t expect any verdict. I came here to watch this historic moment with other people. This has never happened before in Egypt.”

The trial marks a milestone for the first Arab uprisings, which started with the toppling of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia soon after his ouster and was tried in absentia.

Mubarak, 83, faces the death penalty if found guilty of corruption and ordering the killing of anti-government protesters. He has denied the charges.

Amnesty International estimates that about 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the three-week uprising that toppled Mubarak.

A police officer accused of indiscriminately shooting protesters has already been sentenced to death in absentia.

The former president, his interior minister, Habib El Adly, and six of the latter’s assistants face trial on the same charges.

In addition to Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, and a business associate face trial on corruption charges. The trial will be open to the public under heavy security and carried on state television.

All 11 defendants will appear in court in a cage in the hall, Justice Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz Al Guindy has said.

Metal detectors will screen those attending, and the minister said. Egyptian troops and police will patrol the area surrounding the convention center, located in the eastern district of Madinet Nasr.

The trial is set to open on the third day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Mubarak ruled Egypt with an iron fist for nearly 30 years before the revolt that toppled him February 11, leaving the nation under the control of a military council.

He has been hospitalized since suffering heart palpitations in April, but the nation’s health officials declared last week that the ailing former strongman is “fit to stand trial, given a proper transportation arrangement.”

CNN’s Amir Ahmed and Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this report


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