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Egypt's presidential candidate headquarters attacked

posted 2 Jun 2012, 22:09 by Meriposa World   [ updated 2 Jun 2012, 22:11 ]

Protesters in Cairo have reportedly stormed the campaign headquarters of Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq - just hours after ex-president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison.

The attack on the office of Mr. Shafiq, who served as prime minister under the ousted regime of Mr Mubarak, is the second such incident in a week.

It comes as tens of thousands of people are continuing to occupy Cairo's Tahrir Square in protest over Mubarak's trial.

Mubarak, who appeared in court on a hospital stretcher during the nine-month trial, was given a life sentence on Saturday for his involvement in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising that toppled him from power.

Around 850 demonstrators were killed, most shot to death, in Cairo and other major cities across the country in 18-days of nationwide protests.

Mubarak, 84, showed no emotion in his caged dock when his sentence was read out.

Violence broke out inside the courtroom after the court cleared his two sons and key security officials of any wrongdoing.

State TV said Mubarak suffered a "health crisis" as he was flown to Tora jail in Cairo by helicopter after the guilty verdict, and was later admitted to the prison hospital.

The ex-dictator, said to be too sick by his doctors for a jail cell, had been held in a luxury medical suite at a military hospital throughout the court proceedings.

Sentencing Mubarak, Judge Ahmed Rifaat described the former leader's era as "30 years of darkness" which only ended when Egyptians rose up to demand change from the "tyranny and corruption".

"The people of Egypt woke on Tuesday, January 25, to a new dawn, hoping that they would be able to breathe fresh air... after 30 years of deep, deep, deep darkness," he told the court.

"They peacefully demanded democracy from rulers who held tight grip on power," he said.

Outside, thousands of riot police surrounded the building to stop the masses gathered outside from getting too close.

Supporters and opponents of the former leader - the only autocrat toppled in the Arab Spring to be put in the dock - reacted to the verdict clashing with each other and police.

One man held up a sign calling for Mubarak to be executed, others waved Egyptian flags and chanted slogans demanding "retribution".

Relatives of those killed during the uprising broke down in tears.

"He should be executed as he executed our sons," said Mustafa Mursi, whose 18-year-old son was shot dead outside a police station.

Soha Saeed, whose husband was killed in one of the many street demonstrations that helped to depose Mubarak from power on February 11, 2011, was among those celebrating the verdict and shouted: "I'm so happy. I'm so happy."

Sky's Middle East correspondent Emma Hurd said: "There is massive relief that Hosni Mubarak, who was seen as responsible for the deaths of hundreds of protesters - seen as ordering those deaths by allowing his security forces to use live ammunition during the uprising - has been convicted because there were fears that he would escape justice.

"He ruled with repressive tactics, under corrupt rule for more than 30 years before he was ousted.

"The revolutionaries back in Tahrir Square will see this finally as some element of justice for what they went through."

During the trial, the prosecution claimed the then president ordered the violent crackdown that led to the killing of 225 protesters in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria between January 25 and 31 last year.

Mubarak, blamed for widespread repression during his 30-year rule, denied any involvement in the deadly crackdown of security forces that also left 1,800 people wounded.

His fellow defendants, including his former interior minister Habib al Adly, in charge of the police who fired live ammunition at demonstrators, also proclaimed their innocence.

Adly was also given a life term for his involvement in the killings, while six former police commanders were acquitted.

Corruption charges were dropped against Mubarak and his sons - Alaa and Gamal - but the pair still face a separate trial on charges of insider trading.

Hussain Salem, an ex-army and intelligence officer, was also acquitted of corruption charges.

The verdicts came amid the nation's first "free and fair" presidential elections and two weeks before the run-off between mr Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi.

Egypt has been under military rule since Mubarak's resignation in February last year.

By Orange UK News, June 3, 2012