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Another delay for Mubarak trial

THE trial of Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, accused of complicity in the killing of more than 800 protesters this year, has been adjourned until December 28.

Mr Mubarak's trial began nearly three months ago and the lengthy adjournment was certain to frustrate leaders of the anti-Mubarak protest movement who want to see the former leader and his co-defendants -- his two sons, security chief and six top police officers -- brought swiftly to justice.

Mr Mubarak stepped down in February after a popular uprising. Reformers are frustrated by what they see as the slow progress by Egypt's military rulers to liberalise the system.



DEATH

The adjournment was meant to allow time for another court to rule on a request by lawyers for the victims to remove the three-judge panel in Mr Mubarak's trial. That ruling is expected on Thursday.

Mr Mubarak and his co-defendants sat in the defendants' cage for yesterday's 10-minute hearing. If convicted, Mr Mubarak could face the death penalty. He and his sons also face corruption charges.

An 18-day uprising forced Mr Mubarak to step down on February 11.

Meanwhile, two prominent activists were summoned for questioning by military prosecutors for their alleged role in the incitement of clashes this month in which 27 people, most of them Christians, were killed and hundreds wounded.

The two refused to answer the prosecutor's questions on grounds that the military was involved in the violence and therefore could not be impartial, according to human rights lawyer Gamal Eid. Alaa Abdel-Fattah was ordered to be held in custody for 15 days, while Bahaa Saber was released.

The two are suspected of inciting the violence and of damaging military property.

hnews@herald.ie