Clinton calls for due process in Mubarak trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2011 11:34 AM
Clinton calls for due process in Mubarak trial

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the United States hoped Egypt would ensure due process when former President Hosni Mubarak is put on trial in August.

The United States was also concerned over reports of a crackdown on journalists, judges and bloggers, Clinton said, adding that Egypt appeared to be drifting from the ideals expressed during pro-democracy protests centered in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Mubarak was ordered to stand trial in August for the killing of protesters during the uprising against his rule.

While emphasizing that it was up to the Egyptians to decide whether to prosecute Mubarak, Clinton said any trial should be conducted to the highest standard.

"Obviously we want to see the rule of law," Clinton told reporters.

"We want to see appropriate due process and procedures followed in anyone's trial, and particularly in such a highly charged trial as that will certainly be," she said during an appearance in Washington with Brazil's foreign minister.

The United States was keeping "very close watch" on events in Egypt, where the military took power after Mubarak was ousted in February after weeks of popular revolt.

"We're disturbed by the reports of efforts to crack down on journalists and bloggers and judges and others, which we don't think is in keeping with the direction that the Egyptian people were heading when they started out in Tahrir Square," Clinton said.

Egypt's military questioned a democracy activist and a television anchor on Tuesday over comments that implicated a military official in abuses against civilians.

Egypt's military rulers have promised free elections and civilian rule. But they face criticism from rights groups after trying hundreds of civilians in military courts and maintaining a state of emergency that gives the authorities sweeping powers of search and arrest.

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)