Prosecutor asks for Mubarak execution

Cairo (CNN) — Prosecutors in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak formally requested a penalty of death by hanging for Mubarak and several of his fellow defendants Thursday, an attorney at the court said.

Mubarak is accused of ordering protesters killed during the country’s uprising last year, and of corruption. He denies the charges.

Khaled Abu Bakr, a civil rights lawyer representing the families of victims at the trial, told CNN that prosecutors requested death by hanging for Mubarak, former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El Adly and four of his six aides.

They asked for the maximum jail sentence for the two other aides on trial, Abu Bakr said.

The prosecutors’ request came on the last of three days of prosecution arguments in a Cairo courtroom.

Lawyers familiar with the case told CNN it is unlikely that Mubarak and his fellow defendants will receive the death penalty.

This is in part because of the difficulty in proving that the president ordered the killings, rather than being complacent in regard to others’ actions, the lawyers said.

Analysts agreed that while some Egyptians might welcome a death sentence for Mubarak, particularly at a time of heightened tension as the anniversary of the uprising approaches, he is more likely to receive a prison term.

The hearing will resume Monday, when civil rights lawyers will present their case against the defendants.

Two of Mubarak’s sons are also on trial on a variety of charges. The sons, Gamal and Alaa, also have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors also presented evidence Thursday in the corruption case against Mubarak, Abu Bakr said.

Mubarak allegedly broke the law by allowing a friend, businessman Hussein Salem, to export gas to Israel by way of a private company Salem owned without offering the bid to a public tender, Abu Bakr cited prosecutors as saying. That resulted in huge losses of money to Egypt, they said.

Salem is also accused in the case. He was arrested by Interpol in Spain several months ago but has not yet been extradited to Egypt.

Abu Bakr has said he expects a verdict in Mubarak’s trial before January 25, the date on which the uprising began last year. It brought Mubarak’s 30-year rule to an end in February.

Many Egyptians have criticized the court proceedings and some worry that Mubarak may be acquitted of the murder charges. Five police officers accused of killing protesters were acquitted last week.

Mubarak’s health has been in question since his detention began in April, as reports of cancer and heart problems surfaced in the news media.

He has been wheeled in on a stretcher for his court appearances.

Adel Saeed, a spokesman for prosecutor Mustapha Suleiman, said Wednesday the prosecution has evidence that the regime used “thugs” against the protesters.

“The defendants before you in the cage are the actual instigators and are the ones who gave police officers the order to shoot,” Suleiman said, according to Saeed.

The defendants are accused of killing 225 protesters and injuring more than 1,300, Saeed said.

Amnesty International had estimated more than 840 protesters were killed and 6,000 injured. Saeed said the prosecutor’s estimate is lower “because there has been a differentiation between those killed outside police stations while attacking the precinct and those shot while protesting.”