Back from the grave? Is Mubarak having his last hurrah dockside?

Published April 14th, 2013 - 16:40 GMT

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Hosni Mubarak dead
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Image 1 of 8: For months the 84-year-old former Egyptian dictator, who has been held at a military hospital in Cairo, has looked to be at death’s door. Declared clinically dead in 2012, Mubarak has been treated for a heart condition, fractured ribs, fluid in the lungs, depression and high blood pressure.

Hosni Mubarak waving
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Image 1 of 8: A world away from the pale and aisling man we saw at the August 2011 trial, on Saturday, Mubarak was in the dock, sitting upright and looking strong and confident. Wearing sunglasses, the ousted president waved cheerfully with the signature turn of the wrist he used as an autocrat addressing his people.

Hosni Mubarak supporters
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Image 1 of 8: As with the last trial, revolutionaries gathered outside the courtroom calling for Mubarak’s execution. But Saturday’s protest was tame in comparison to the one that erupted two years ago. Supporters of the former Egyptian leader gathered with posters and even life-size models of the imprisoned president.

Hosni Mubarak sons Gamal Alaa
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Image 1 of 8: Also on trial with Hosni Mubarak were his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, who are charged with corruption and squandering public funds. In the courtroom, the three accused smiled at each other and exchanged pleasantries, infuriating Egyptians watching on television after it was given extensive coverage by public and private channels.

Judge Mustafa Hasan
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Image 1 of 8: Judge Mustafa Hasan recused himself after citing "embarrassment", referring the case to Cairo Court of Appeals. The Judge is a controversial figure after ruling in favor of the ousted President in the case of the infamous "Battle of the Camel", which left 11 dead after pro-Mubarak thugs entered Tahrir square on horses and camels beating protesters.

Hosni Mubarak court chaos
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Image 1 of 8: Following the judge’s decision to recuse himself from the case, the courtroom descending into scenes of chaos. Some people present shouted "The people want the execution of the president," a clear play on the chant of the revolution across the Arab world, " the people want the downfall of the regime".

Hosni Mubarak Doaa Eladl catroon
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Image 1 of 8: A poster created by Egyptian cartoonist, Doaa Eladl, highlights Mubarak’s change in appearance between the two trials. From looking solemn and downtrodden to defiant and unhappy in black and white pictures, to a color photo of the former president appearing confident as he waves and smirks at the courtroom.

Morsi powerful
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Image 1 of 8: Many of Cairo's residents were aghast by Mubarak's appearance, saying that he looked very confident. With two years of political instability, some now fear for the future of the revolution. In 1 cartoon asking Mubarak where his lawyer is, the deposed dictator replies, "Why do I need a lawyer or defense? Morsi, bless him, has done a great job."

Political comebacks come in many guises and have the tendency to take us by surprise. Take former British PM Tony Blair, who having initiated the war in Iraq somehow landed the position of UN Middle East peace envoy, even as coalition forces continued to patrol Baghdad. Hugo Chavez has come back from the grave to seemingly steer his tea boy to victory in Venezuela’s Sunday election. But what of Hosni Mubarak? Despised by his people, wasting away in a Cairo hospital prison, the ousted Egyptian President appeared on the edge of life the last time he appeared in public, beleaguered in a hospital bed in a court room, convicted of being accomplice in the killing of unarmed demonstrators.



Fast forward to his latest bravado filled, fist pumping appearance for his adjourned re-trial on Saturday and the situation seemed to have drastically changed. Of Course protesters gathered outside the courtroom, screaming for imprisonment or death for Mubarak but this time there were voices calling for his release. There were Egyptians holding effigies of the former President aloft, but this time they were kissing the papier mache figures rather than burning them. Vendors had even set up stalls selling Mubarak-tat outside the courthouse!  All of this has got people like us whispering, ever so softly, could the former President be making an improbable comeback?

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