Verdict due in murder retrial of Egypt's former president Mubarak

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (centre) is wheeled on a bed from an ambulance to a medical helicopter outside Maadi military hospital as he heads to the court in Cairo for his trial on Nov 29, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (centre) is wheeled on a bed from an ambulance to a medical helicopter outside Maadi military hospital as he heads to the court in Cairo for his trial on Nov 29, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP
An Egyptian supporter of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak holds his portrait as a medical helicopter takes off outside Maadi military hospital transporting the deposed leader to the court in Cairo for his trial on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
An Egyptian supporter of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak holds his portrait as a medical helicopter takes off outside Maadi military hospital transporting the deposed leader to the court in Cairo for his trial on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - An Egyptian court is to deliver its verdict on Saturday in the murder retrial of former president Hosni Mubarak, almost four years after he was overthrown in a popular uprising.

Ahead of the ruling, security was beefed up around the court at the sprawling police academy on the outskirts of Cairo, with 5,000 police deployed, the official MENA news agency reported, citing a senior official.

Mubarak, 86, is accused along with seven of his former police commanders of involvement in the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the 2011 revolt that ended his three-decade rule.

An appeals court overturned an initial life sentence for Mubarak in 2012 on a technicality.

The new verdict was initially scheduled for Sept 27, but chief judge Mahmud Kamel al-Rashidi postponed it, saying he had not finished writing the reasoning after a retrial that saw thousands of case files presented.

The court is also due to rule on corruption charges levelled against Mubarak and his two sons.

The sons, Alaa and Gamal, both arrived at the court on Saturday ahead of the verdict, along with co-accused former interior minister Habib al-Adly, a government spokesman told AFP.

If acquitted, Mubarak would not be released because he is serving a three-year sentence in a separate corruption case, a judicial official said.

Saturday's verdict comes as the revolutionary fervour that unseated Mubarak has largely ebbed across the country.

Mubarak's Islamist successor Mohamed Mursi was himself removed last year by then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president, and put on trial along with hundreds of other Islamists.

Mursi and several top leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement are accused of committing acts of violence during the anti-Mubarak uprising as well as during huge anti-Mursi protests which prompted the army to remove him.

- Crackdown -

Several top left-leaning youth activists who led the campaign against Mubarak have also been jailed by the authorities for staging unauthorised protests after the June 2013 overthrow of the divisive Mursi.

Sisi, who won a presidential election in May after crushing his Islamist opponents, has made law and order and economic stability his top priorities rather than democratic freedoms - the key demand during the anti-Mubarak uprising.

The police force, which Mubarak is accused of ordering to quell the 2011 uprising, is now feted in the largely pro-government media as it wages a deadly crackdown on pro-Mursi Islamist protesters and militants.

At least 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown, with scores of soldiers and policemen dying in militant attacks.

Mubarak, who attended the trial hearings in an upright stretcher wearing his trademark shades, told the retrial in August that he was nearing the end of his life "with a good conscience".

"The Hosni Mubarak before you would never have ordered the killings of protesters," he said.

Mubarak's former interior minister Adly accused the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian militants of attacking protesters during the 2011 uprising to malign the police.

During the retrial which opened in May 2013, most witnesses - senior military and police officers under Mubarak - have given testimony seen as favourable to the former leader.