Monday’s papers: Court cases for presidents new and old

Today’s papers are full of news pertaining to the retrial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his continued hospitalization, along with questions of where the toppled leader will be held whilst serving his prison sentence.

At the forefront of all the daily papers’ coverage is news of the retrial of Mubarak, his sons and former security chief Habib el-Adly on charges of corruption and their role in killing nearly 900 protesters during the January 25 Uprising. Mubarak’s court appearance in the defendants’ cage on Saturday – where he was again lying on a wheeled hospital stretcher, donning a white training suit and a new pair of sunglasses, his hair dyed black – continues to make headlines.

While Mubarak has been held in the Maadi Military Hospital since late last year authorities are inquiring whether he is fit enough to be returned to Tora Prison, or at least its prison hospital. Questions abound as to where this ousted autocrat will be held pending his retrial; and more questions abound regarding his newly-found grin and his hand-waving in court on Saturday. 

Privately-owned Al-Watan carries an article about appointing a new judge after the presiding judge on Saturday recused himself, and another reporting on a specialized committee of doctors tasked with assessing Mubarak’s medical condition and determining whether or not he is well enough to leave the military hospital and return to the prison hospital at Tora.

One of independent Al-Shorouk’s main headlines declares, “Four medical reports confirm Mubarak is unfit to be transported to Tora.” The reports, received by the Prison Authority from the hospital, suggest that Mubarak is unable to stand without assistance and requires further medical attention. 

“Mubarak won’t be going home today,” reads the top headline in party paper Al-Wafd. The article explains that the former president’s remand in custody — pending retrial — has just expired, and his place of detention is still being determined by the prosecutor general’s office. Legal appeals from the prosecuting team have called for Mubarak’s return to Tora Prison.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s mouthpiece, the Freedom and Justice Newspaper, publishes a headline reading “Good bye, Maadi Military Hospital: Prosecutor general forms committee to return Mubarak to Tora Prison.” The Brotherhood’s paper suggests that Mubarak’s health is fine and that he is more than fit to be returned to prison. 

The paper also reports on the reactions of members of the Shura Council to Mubarak’s “new look.” Drawing attention to his hair being dyed and the way in which he was waving, the paper quotes one member as saying, “Does he not know that he is standing trial?”

Al-Ahram, the state flagship paper, also reports on members of the Shura Council being “angered” by Mubarak’s continued stay in Maadi hospital.  

Both Al-Wafd and Al-Watan look at international media’s analysis of Mubarak’s appearance on Saturday. Al-Watan runs a headline reading “International press analyzes Mubarak’s grin: Indicator that Egypt has even further deteriorated under the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule.” According to the article  — which cites coverage in the Washington Post, New York Times and Financial Times — Mubarak is smiling because he knows that Egypt now realizes that it is faring worse under the Brotherhood than under his rule. 

Al-Watan mentions that these papers cite the shortages of fuel, grains and national reserves, accompanied by widespread electric power outages and other socio-economic grievances as reasons that Mubarak was now likely gloating at the people who overthrew him. The paper suggests that with a renewed sense of confidence, Mubarak was waving at his supporters and sympathizers.

Al-Watan runs stories regarding the current president and the law. “Mubarak and Morsy, both in the hands of the judiciary,” one headline reads, and another “Courts summon Morsy in Wadi el-Natrun and slander cases.” The article mentions that Morsy and Prime Minister Hesham Qandil may be summoned to in relation to charges of Qandil’s slandering and defaming the people of Beni Suef. 

In February, Qandil delivered a speech in Beni Suef in which he attributed diarrhea amongst children to women’s neglect of their personal hygiene and the cleaning of their breasts. He also claimed that women from the same governorate are raped while they work in their fields.

The legal charges have been leveled against both the prime minister and president (responsible for appointing him) on account of these controversial and crude statements. 

Youm7 focuses on the Wadi el-Natrun case, reporting that prosecuting lawyers are seeking to question Morsy about the jailbreak as he was one of the prisoners released during the revolution in 2011. 

Prosecuting lawyers are accusing Hamas and Hezbullah of orchestrating the jailbreak, which reportedly led to the release of members from both groups — along with Egyptian Islamists. Privately-owned Al-Tahrir reports that Morsy was released alongside three of his top aides, and cites the former chief of investigations at Wadi el-Natrun Prison describing the escape as “well-planned and coordinated.”

In other news, Al-Tahrir and Al-Wafd report that several universities are boiling with discontent, mentioning in particular Ain Shams, Cairo and Mansoura universities.

Al-Wafd reports “Engineering and pharmacy students boycott their classes at Cairo University, while clashes erupt at Ain Shams University.” The article mentions that Ain Shams’ students staged protest marches and rallies, both inside and outside the university’s gates, in protest against repeated “acts of thuggery” directed against recent demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Cairo University’s pharmacy and engineering students are reportedly boycotting their classes in response to disciplinary actions which members of their student councils are being subjected to by the university’s administrative board.

Al-Wafd also reports that students at Mansoura University are protesting against their administration and the arrest of several students – whose detentions have been renewed for a further 15 days pending investigations into violent clashes that took place at the university last week.

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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