Magdi Abdelhadi writes: For the first time in Egypt’s history the pharaoh is behind bars. But the joy was not unalloyed. Some of his most powerful henchmen, the backbone of his police state, were acquitted of killing the protesters and are now free. That’s why Tahrir Square in Cairo and other cities have erupted in anger.
What also infuriated the public was that Mubarak was found guilty not of what he did, but rather of what he did not do. That’s how seemingly preposterous (but apparently technically correct) the verdict is. The former president was proven guilty of something like “serious dereliction of duty”: he failed to stop the killing of protesters.
The absence of incriminating evidence – as cited by Judge Ahmed Rifaat – was the most shockingly appalling of all facts, considering that Egyptians, in fact the whole world, saw on their television screens how the police shot and mauled the protesters last year.
The verdict should not have come as a surprise for those who followed the trial closely. The prosecutors failed to provide material proof (there was some circumstantial evidence on the type of weapons and ammunition issued to the anti-riot police) of specific orders from top police chiefs to the boots on the ground. At one point, the prosecutors publicly complained to the court that the police and intelligence services had refused to co-operate with the investigation.
The question now is why those agencies and the men who control them (all of them Mubarak-era appointees) have not been charged with “severe dereliction of duty” or, even worse, obstruction of justice. The answer is simple: they still rule Egypt. [Continue reading…]