Hosni Mubarak - the pharaoh in a cage

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Hosni Mubarak
Cairo, Aug 3: "The pharaoh in a cage", that is how Egyptian newspapers summed up the downfall of Hosni Mubarak from once an all powerful president to his pathetic appearance on a hospital stretcher in a Cairo courtroom today (Aug 3) to face trial on charges that could lead to his execution.

Though, Mubarak, 83, appeared frail in his first public appearance after his ouster five months ago, school, streets, subway stations of a city seething with short tempers, there was sense of awe, anticipation and doubt at the trial of a figure whose power had remained uncontested for 30 years.

The prospects of Mubarak's trial seemed to mark a new moment in the Arab world, with people comparing it with the capture, trial and execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain.

His appearance in the dock stirred strong emotions in Egypt -- one of the leading Arab countries -- with newspapers describing him as "the pharaoh in a cage", apparently referring to his deposition on charges of killing of protesters and involvement in corruption from a steel wired mesh cage in the special courtroom set up in the police academy.

The Egyptian strongman's ride to the helm of his country was as dramatic as his fall. Mubarak came to power when he was elevated to the presidency in the wake of Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981, with few expecting that the little-known vice-president would hold on to the country''s top job for so long.

Mubarak survived six assassination attempts during his 30-year rule of Egypt with an iron hand but could not survive the deluge of unprecedented street protests and was brought down by his own people.

PTI

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