An Egyptian court sentenced former President Hosni Mubarak to life in prison on Saturday after convicting him of involvement in the murder of protesters during the uprising that ousted him last year.
Mubarak’s former Interior Minister, Habib al-Adly, was also sentenced for life in prison for the protesters’ killing in January.
Meanwhile, corruption charges against Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, were dropped.
The former strongman, wearing dark classes and a beige tracksuit, showed no emotion as Judge Ahmed Refaat read out the sentence.
His two sons, both looking tired with dark circles under their eyes, appeared close to tears on hearing the verdict.
Clashes erupted out outside the court following the sentencing, as police used stun grenades to control the crowds.
The deposed President was wheeled into court on Saturday to hear the verdict in the case against him on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters last year.
Mubarak has become the only autocrat toppled in the Arab Spring to be put in the dock.
The verdict was broadcasted live on Egyptian state television and other channels that agreed to buy its coverage.
A security official said 5,000 policemen and 2,000 soldiers secured the area, to which Mubarak was helicoptered from a military hospital.
Mubarak has been detained in hospital since his arrest last year after the military, which took power after he resigned, appeared to bow to popular protests demanding that he and former regime officials be put on trial.
But the military insists the prosecution’s investigations and the charges eventually filed were independent judicial decisions.
However, critics say the investigations were hasty and sloppy, resulting in a trial based on patchwork evidence that may see Mubarak acquitted.
“We will appeal. The ruling is full of legal flaws from every angle,” said Yasser Bahr, a senior member of Mubarak’s defense team. Asked if Mubarak was likely to win the appeal, Bahr said: “We will win, one million percent.”
The verdict comes just two weeks before a run-off in presidential elections that will pit Mubarak’s former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi in a highly polarizing race.
It is the first openly contested presidential election in any of the Arab countries swept by regional protests and uprisings that challenged decades of autocratic rule.
But the revolt also led to a deteriorating economy and increased lawlessness in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, that has helped Shafiq, a symbol of Mubarak’s regime, win a surprising amount of support.
Source: AFP; Al Arabiya