Judge Ahmed Rifaat delivered a strongly worded statement Saturday before handing down sentences in the trial of Hosni Mubarak. The former Egyptian president and his ex-security chief were sentenced to life in prison, while six former senior police officials were acquitted of the same charges. Mubarak and his sons were also acquitted of corruption charges.
Here are some excerpts from the judge's statement:
_Speaking about the years under Mubarak and the start of last year's uprising, Rifaat said: "The people released a collective sigh of relief after a nightmare that did not, as is customary, last for a night, but for almost 30 black, black, black years _ darkness that resembled a winter night. Still they persisted, though they had little hope that the morning would come and that it would be a bright one. ... Then there was God's will, and it inspired the people of Egypt."
"They did not seek a luxurious life or to sit atop the world, but asked their politicians, rulers who sat on the throne of opulence, wealth and power to give them bread and clear water to satisfy their hunger and quench their thirst and to be in a home that shelters their families and the sons of the nation far from the rotten slums. After sleeping rough with sky their only cover, they wanted jobs to earn an honest wage to make ends meet and to pull themselves out of poverty and into a decent life. They were chanting 'peaceful, peaceful' with their mouths while their stomachs were empty and their strength was failing. ... They screamed ... 'rescue us and pull us from the torture of poverty and humiliation."
"Egypt's social fabric, culture, education, and security deteriorated. Its status slid to the lowest levels among all nations and before that it was highly thought of, and a target of invaders and colonialists. What happened to you Egypt? You, the one whom God mentioned you in his book."
_Explaining the court's decision to acquit the six high-ranking security officials, Rifaat said: "As for the charges against police chiefs, the court listened to witnesses in this hall, and after reading and thoroughly studying the papers of the case, which reached 60,000 pages, the court decided that based on all of this, those who committed the killings or those who attempted to commit them were not arrested during the events or afterward."
_"Evidence in the case lacked audio or visual recordings which would inspire confidence and could be used legally in court as proof that those sitting here are the actual people (who committed the crimes)."
_"The case lacked definitive technical evidence to prove that the injuries were caused by police weapons, and all the medical documents and papers of those killed and injured are not evidence of murder."