A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interrogating the Mubaraks

Word that Husni Mubarak and his two sons will be held in 15 days detention while being interrogated on corruption and other charges is drawing a lot of attention today. Mubarak himself remains hospitalized in Sharm al-Sheikh, but the sons have reportedly been transferred to a pri8son in Cairo. The Egyptian legal system permits detention without charge for 15 days during an interrogation.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about how far the ruling military council will pursue the matter (as well as about Mubarak's hospitalization yesterday). But the announcement does, at least temporarily, defuse demands that the Mubaraks be prosecuted.

There are negatives too, however. I can see how other beleaguered heads of state (Salih in Yemen for example) could see the potential of prosecution as one reason not to step down. Ben Ali in Tunisia avoided the issue by fleeing to Saudi Arabia, but Mubarak, by remaining in Egypt, was gambling the Army would protect him. It still may do so; no charges have yet been filed.


David Mack said...

What next? Erecting a guillotine in Midan at-Tahrir?

It's a big mistake for many Arab democracy proponents to be so keen about bringing judicial charges against fallen leaders. Agree with your points about Mubarak and Ali Abdullah Salih, and I would say the same about Mu'ammar Qadhafi and, potentially, Bashar al-Asad. People need to get their priorities straight, and vengeance should not be so high on their list. Nelson Mandela in South Africa set the gold standard in this regard.

Michael Collins Dunn said...


Some of the Twitter traffic wouldn't think the guillotine was such a bad idea, but I agree that South Africa (or Chile) and their reconciliation approaches are a whole lot healthier.

prasad said...

Mubharaks arrest is very unfortunate he is very old now he is in his last days so he should be free. His arrest is very bad past is past let him live his life happily.