Egypt's Mubarak faces new trial over protester deaths

CAIRO (AFP) - A fresh retrial of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak over his role in the deaths of protesters in 2011 was set to begin on Saturday in Cairo, after the judge recused himself in a previous hearing.

Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six security chiefs are to face court again over their complicity in the murder and attempted murder of hundreds of peaceful protesters on January 25-31, 2011.

His sons Gamal and Alaa will be retried on corruption charges along with their father. Business tycoon Hussein Salem is being tried in absentia.

Egyptians remain polarised by the former leader who was deposed in a popular uprising in 2011, as the country struggles to move forward under the new regime of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, elected in June.

Today Egypt remains in disarray, with Mr Morsi's tenure marked by political polarisation, repeated violence and a crippling economic crisis.

Some like Ms Umm Moaz, who lost her son during the uprising, see Mubarak's new trial as a sham and have given up on justice ever being served.

On the 28th of January 2011, her 20-year-old son Moaz was killed during the "Friday of Anger" protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

She has demonstrated outside court throughout Mubarak's trial which first started nearly two years ago.

"At this time, I don't trust anyone, not even the court overseeing the retrial. I have no hope that they will ensure justice for my son or any martyr.

"My whole life has been turned upside down," she told AFP.

The ousted leader was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in June last year over his involvement in the deaths of 846 people during the Egyptian revolution.

But Egypt's highest court ordered a retrial after it accepted Mubarak's appeal on grounds of procedural failings.

Supporters of the former regime have also taken to the streets.

Ms Soraya Hanafi still believes Mubarak was a great leader.

"After two years, I really want to hear the arguments of the victims' lawyers and what they will say. What new evidence will they use to retry Mubarak? And what are his sons guilty of? They didn't kill anyone or give orders to kill," Ms Hanafi said.

Mubarak is expected to attend the trial at the police academy that once bore his name on the outskirts of Cairo.

Last month, he was transferred to prison from a military hospital after the public prosecutor ordered the move because his health was deemed stable.

After months of rumours that Mubarak was at death's door, footage of him looking strong and defiant and waving at supporters in court had stunned many.

The retrial was originally set to begin on April 13, but Judge Mostafa Hassan Abdallah recused himself in an opening session that lasted just seconds.

Mubarak turned 85 last week.