CAIRO — Prosecutors in the historic trial of Hosni Mubarak on Thursday demanded that the former Egyptian president be executed for ordering the killing of pro-democracy protesters during the revolt that ultimately forced his ouster.
The five-person prosecution team also called for the same sentence — death by hanging — for his security chief and six top police commanders.
“Retribution is the solution. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants," Mohammed Khater, one of the prosecutors, was quoted by the Associated Press.
Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, face corruption charges in the same trial as their father, as does fugitive businessman Hussein Salem. The prosecution is seeking the maximum of 15 years in prison for the three men.
Mubarak has pleaded not guilty, as have his fellow defendants.
The trial of the ailing 83-year-old fallen autocrat resumed this week after a three-month hiatus during which lawyers for the victims unsuccessfully tried to get the head judge, Ahmed Refaat, thrown off the case for alleged bias.
The trial, which began in August, was broadcast live until Refaat, saying he was worried the broadcasts could lead to violence, ordered all transmissions to stop. Critics say that decision weakened the transparency of the court proceedings.
Activists and relatives of slain protesters are concerned that the man they hold responsible for the killing of nearly 1,000 people during last winter’s uprising will be acquitted.
The prosecution has struggled with the case, and on Thursday it said state institutions, most notably the Ministry of Interior, have refused to cooperate.
Prosecutors say it is not credible that Mubarak didn’t know about mass demonstrations in 12 provinces of the country or of the brute force used against demonstrators. The police could not have carried out such violence without the permission of the head of state, and Mubarak could have stopped the killings, the prosecution argued, according to the state’s Middle East News Agency.
“The officers who killed protesters had no personal vendetta against them that made them assault protesters, except by being ordered to do so by their leaders,” said chief prosecutor Mustafa Soleiman, according to the news agency.
Mubarak told investigators that he left the presidency after the military was deployed to the streets on Jan. 28, but refused to follow orders to put down the protests, Soleiman said.
Lawyers involved in the case expect the trial to wrap up by the end of the month. Court proceedings will resume Monday.