CAIRO: Ousted president Hosni Mubarak cannot legally be granted amnesty even if the ruling army council approves it, law professor Salah Sadek told Daily News Egypt Tuesday.
“A pardon does not legally eliminate a crime that has been committed. It is the people’s right to have him prosecuted,” Sadek, who represents several January 25 Revolution protesters, said.
“What about those tortured and killed at the hands of state security investigations officers … or the peaceful protesters shot dead on the streets? Who said Egyptians gave up their right to have him prosecuted?”
An unconfirmed press report published by daily independent Al-Shorouk newspaper claimed that Mubarak wants to seek amnesty from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), stirring angry reactions.
“Publishing such news is a crime in itself. The people to whom he caused distress have legal rights the SCAF cannot ignore,” Sadek said.
According to the news report, a speech is currently being prepared to be broadcast on Egyptian and Arab channels in which Mubarak will apologize on behalf of himself and his family for any offence they caused to the Egyptian people.
“But will any apology be enough for a mother whose child was killed during the protests?” asked member of the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution Zyad El-Elaimy, saying that the group will release an official response to the claims.
“We demand enforcing the law, which has no exceptions,” he told DNE.
The former president is also to apologize for any action he took based on false information passed on to him by his advisors, the report added.
Senior researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amr Hashim Rabie described this unconfirmed news as “a dangerous indicator,” saying it could be a way to gauge public opinion.
“If Mubarak is pardoned, then any former official currently under investigation can simply apologize and give up his wealth to be released,” Rabie told DNE.
“Other crimes that have nothing to do with money cannot be ignored, like political corruption, vote rigging and killing protesters,” he added.
On April 19, an official fact-finding mission said in a 400-page report that at least 864 were killed and 6,467 injured during the first days of the uprising that began on Jan. 25.
The report confirmed that police fired live rounds at peaceful protesters across Egypt starting Jan. 25, adding that police only use live ammunition if they are authorized to do so by a committee headed by the interior minister and high ranking police officers.
The mission held Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of the protesters since his interior minister, Habib El-Adly, currently facing trial for the premeditated murder of demonstrators, had issued the orders to open fire.
A military source told Al-Shorouk that several parties, Egyptian and Arab, have been mediating to reach a settlement for the ousted president within an acceptable legal framework.
The source further said that the possibility of imprisoning Mubarak was unpopular within the military community since he is a former high-ranking army officer.
Yet, he added that the army wants to avoid provoking the Egyptian people.
The Mubaraks’ family lawyer Farid El-Deeb, meanwhile, declined to comment.
Another Gulf source said that several Arab countries are rumored to be exerting pressure on Cairo to reach a settlement, appealing to Mubarak’s history as a war hero of the 1973 October War.
Justice Minister Abdel-Aziz El-Guindi said in an interview on 90 Minutes talk show broadcast on Mehwar TV last month that Mubarak may be handed down a death sentence if proven guilty of premeditated murder of protesters.
On April 30, El-Guindi said in another interview with daily state-owned Al-Ahram that only the next elected president can grant Mubarak a pardon.
Lawyer Salah Sadek accused the SCAF of procrastinating in taking action against Mubarak. “Why hasn’t he faced a trial since he stepped down on Feb. 11?” Sadek wondered, adding that it has been meaningless to keep renewing his detention three times till now without referring him to a criminal court.
Sadek speculates that if the SCAF grants Mubarak a pardon, the army will lose any remaining popular support among Egyptians, which will have dangerous consequences.
“The people may revolt against the army itself if this happens,” Sadek said.
“In this case, we will go back to the streets and resume protesting against those who glossed over his crimes the same way we dealt with Mubarak during the revolution,” Elelaimy said.
“Millions are expected to take to the streets … and the army may not be able to control the situation in such a case,” Rabie said.
On April 10, Mubarak denied in a recorded audio message aired on pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel all corruption allegations against him, confirming that neither he nor his family possessed any assets abroad.
About 20 minutes later, the prosecutor general summoned him and his two sons Alaa and Gamal for interrogation over corruption charges as well as responsibility for murdering peaceful protesters.
Alaa and Gamal were taken to Cairo’s Tora prison, while Mubarak remained in custody at Sharm El-Sheikh international hospital until his medical state stabilizes.
El-Guindi had previously said Mubarak would face trial for the crimes he committed against the people even if a court had to carry out its proceedings at the hospital in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Last week, former first lady Suzanne Sabet was remanded in custody for 15 days pending investigation into amassing wealth illegally. She collapsed and was held inside the same hospital following a suspected heart attack.
On Tuesday, Sabet was released pending investigations after she gave up her assets of LE 24 million ($4 million) and a villa in Heliopolis to the state when she signed powers of attorney to access her assets to the head of the illicit gains authority Assem El-Gohari.
She was released without bail but is still under investigation for accusations of abusing her husband’s influence for unlawful personal gain.