By Konstantin Garibov
Russia is concerned about demands by Egyptian prosecutors that ex-President Hosni Mubarak should be sentenced to death. A statement to this effect was made by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday.
The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and a number of ex interior ministry officials began in August last year. All of them are accused of involvement in the shooting of peaceful protesters during the uprising in January 2011. However, the prosecution presented no evidence proving that the ex-president ordered a crackdown on the protesters. The accused deny any wrongdoing. Their lawyers say that the police were instructed not to use force against civilians.
Court hearings on the case of Hosni Mubarak broke up in November and resumed on January 5th . Prosecutors demand that Mubarak should be sentenced to death by hanging. The Russian Foreign Ministry has spoken against this. Russian diplomats believe that Mr. Mubarak should be spared out of humanitarian considerations. He is 83 years old and is in ill health which should be taken into account, they said. Furthermore, he chose to relinquish power to avoid additional casualties among innocent people, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
France’s Foreign Ministry has expressed similar concerns. Paris has made it clear that a death sentence is not the right option given that it might lead to destabilization in the Middle East. Analyst Stanislav Tarasov has this opinion.
“Bloody executions of political leaders may lead to chaos. For this reason, Russia and the West urge the Egyptian leadership to refrain from any drastic steps. On the one hand, decades of authoritarian rule caused a lot of public resentment, and execution is seen by many as necessary to douse this hatred.”
On the other hand, this measure might split the Egyptian society. The ex-president still has enough supporters and many would hate to see him hanged, Stanislav Tarasov says.
“Mubarak has a large number of followers in Egypt. If the court decides in favor of execution, these people will rise up against those who initiated it. Even among the ruling circles were those who lived happily under Mubarak and supported him. A death sentence for Mubarak will surely have a negative impact on the political situation in Egypt.”
The trial of the ex-president and his sons and entourage will go on till January 9th . The judges will hear lawyers who will speak for the relatives of those killed in clashes with the police. According to a panel conducting an inquiry into Egypt clashes, 846 people were killed and about 6,000 were injured during the protest rallies in Egypt from late January to early February.