Judge in Hosni Mubarak retrial pulls out

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THE judge presiding over the retrial of ousted ­Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said yesterday he would refer the case to ­another court.

Amid chaotic scenes in the Cairo courtroom, Judge Mostafa Hassan said Murbarak’s retrial, for alleged complicity in the killing of demonstrators during the 2011 revolt that toppled him, would be overseen in the appeals court by a new judge.

Hassan did not specify the conflict of interest behind the decision.

Earlier an upbeat Mubarak was wheeled into the courtroom for his retrial but the session ended with the judge’s recusal.

Mubarak, 84, wearing brown-tinted glasses, waved from his wheelchair inside a courtroom cage. He was airlifted to the court from a Cairo hospital. His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and his former interior minister, Habib el-Adly, currently held in prison over separate charges, were also in the courtroom cage.

Mubarak had not been seen in public since his ­initial conviction in June 2012. Unconfirmed reports have emerged several times in the past year suggesting that he was on the brink of death.

Hassan caused an uproar in October among Egyptian political activists when he cleared 25 Mubarak loyalists who had been accused of organising an attack in which assailants on horses and camels stormed Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the 18-day revolt.

Mubarak’s retrial was granted by an appeals court that overturned his life sentence in January, citing procedural breaches. He has remained in custody since, spending some time in a prison hospital before being transferred to a military one. If convicted again, the life sentences passed against Mubarak and el-Adly would be upheld.

Also standing trial are six police generals. Five face the same charges as Mubarak while the sixth is accused of gross negligence. All six were acquitted in the first trial, but are being tried again.