Mostafa Hassan Abdallah the head judge for the retrial of Hosni Mubarak has recused himself during a chaotic first day opening hearing that took only seconds and saw a combative and proud Mubarak wave and smile inside the defendant’s cage.
The judge told the court he was sending the case back to the Court of Appeal, which would then have it referred for trial in a new circuit, sending Mubarak’s fate back to square one.
As the court’s judges left the courtroom, an uproar could be heard as people begin shouting and moving their arms. Lawyers who were attending the trial started chanting that people wanted the execution of the former president.
Last October, the same trial judge acquitted a number of defendants in the now infamous trial the Battle of the Camels, who had been accused of sending men on horses and camels to break up a 2011 protest during the “Arab Spring” protests that eventually toppled the government of Mubarak.
Mubarak, Habib al-Adly his former Minister of the Interior and six of his security chiefs were inside the defendant’s cage again, albeit very briefly, for accusations of complicity in the killing and attempted killing of hundreds of protesters between January 25 and January 31 of 2011.
A lawyer who represents the family of one of the victims said the judge and the circuit had acquitted every defendant in the camels case and there was a great deal of doubt over his position.
Months of different rumors, which had Mubarak too weak to attend a retrial or in a coma, were scuttled on Saturday when the ex-president of Egypt looked strong and healthy while sitting in the cage for defendants. He both smiled at and waved to his supporters. Some is his supporters yelled that they loved the big man.