Middle East

Egypt changes Mubarak trial venue

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, file pic
Image caption Hosni Mubarak is currently in a hospital in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh

Egyptian authorities say the trial of deposed President Hosni Mubarak will be moved from a Cairo convention centre, for security reasons.

The trial, due to open on Wednesday, will now be held at a police academy further from the city centre.

Mr Mubarak, 83, has been under arrest at a hospital in the coastal resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh since April.

He is charged with corruption and ordering the killing of protesters before he was toppled in February.

Appeals court president Abdel Aziz Omar said Mr Mubarak's trial was being moved "because it is difficult to guarantee the protection of the other place".

The police academy auditorium where the trial will now be held can hold 600 people, Assistant Justice Minister Mohammed Munie told Egypt's Mena news agency.

A cage for the defendants has already been prepared, he said.

Protesters still demonstrating in Egypt have made swift prosecution of officials from the former regime a key demand.

Family trial

Doctors have said Mr Mubarak's condition is poor, that he has lost weight from refusing food and is suffering from depression. But the government has said he is well enough to be moved to Cairo for trial.

Mr Mubarak is expected to be tried alongside his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, as well as six senior police officials.

Adly has already been sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption.

The justice minister has said Mr Mubarak could face the death penalty if found guilty of murder.

Mr Mubarak was deposed on 11 February, after 18 days of mass demonstrations in which some 850 people were killed.