Lawmakers slam Mubarak verdict as too soft

Parliamentary lawmakers lashed out at the judiciary Sunday, devoting that day’s session to commenting on the life sentence verdict issued against former President Hosni Mubarak.

MP Hussein Ibrahim of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party started the session by saying that all political forces inside Parliament had requested retribution for the souls of the [25 January revolution] martyrs and disclosure of the real culprits behind their deaths, adding that officials of the Mubarak regime who remain in power should be brought to account for blurring evidence in the case against the former leader.

“Parliament will not stop pursuing the real perpetrators,” he said. “They must be brought to a new trial.”

Ibrahim criticized Planning and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abouelnaga for saying the judiciary’s verdicts must be respected. “She was a member of Mubarak’s regime that hid the truth,” he said.

MP Younis Makhyoun of the Salafi-oriented Nour Party called for applying one of the serious punishments stated in Islamic Sharia, called Had al-Haraba. The term refers to serious offenses that should be punished by death, crucifixion, or the cutting off of the hands or feet.

He said Mubarak and his former officials should be punished according to Had al-Haraba, describing them as a "gang" that spread corruption on Earth. He also called for them to be charged with treason before a revolutionary court.

“Those responsible for destroying evidence and burning and shredding the documents of the State Security Investigation Services must be brought to trial,” he said, warning that Mubarak and his interior minister, Habib al-Adly, who also received a life sentence for the same charge, may later be acquitted.

Wafd Party MP Mahmoud al-Saqqa said the trial judge, Ahmed Refaat, first gave the impression he would give Mubarak the death penalty, but then deceived the Egyptian people.

“And he made legal and grammatical mistakes in his 32-minute speech,” Saqqa said, adding that the judge should have returned the case to the attorney general for further investigation if he saw that it did not contain sufficient incriminating evidence.

Mubarak and Adly were sentenced to life in prison on Saturday for their role in the killing of protesters during the 25 January uprising against Mubarak’s rule.

The court also acquitted six former security officials citing lack of evidence, a decision that has angered many Egyptians. Thousands have taken to the streets to protest the verdicts over the last two days, with some wanting a death sentence for Mubarak and others fearing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case could enable him to successfully appeal his life sentence.

“These convictions set an important precedent since just over a year ago seeing Hosni Mubarak as a defendant in a criminal court would have been unthinkable,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement on Saturday.

“But the acquittal of senior Ministry of Interior officials for the deaths and injuries of peaceful protesters leaves police impunity intact and the victims still waiting for justice,” he added.

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