Middle East

Mubarak's trial: 'He looked miserable'

The former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has appeared in court in Cairo on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters.

Mr Mubarak denied the charges. The 83-year-old is being tried with his sons, who also deny charges against them, ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six other former officials.

Residents in Cairo give their reaction to the trial.

Mohamed Safi

Image caption 'My initial euphoria has given way to dismay'

I was stunned and relieved to see Mr Mubarak in the dock. I never truly believed he would be made to stand trial. But I am deeply disappointed by lawyers on both sides who turned the proceedings into a circus.

The first day of this historic trial descended into farce.

The hearing, bedevilled by too many lawyers, was a disservice to the Egyptian people. At one point it seemed some of the lawyers made progress. Unfortunately, this was followed by frenzied arguments and everyone jostling for "air time". In my opinion a class action would have been a better option. The hearing uncovered no new revelations.

The Mubarak regime unleashed years of terror and suffering for millions of people. Public opinion will not be swayed by the image of a diminished man in a cage. The culprits deserve to feel the full force of the law. A "show trial" would be an unpalatable compromise.

The fact that Egyptians feel this trial could resolve a dark chapter in our history provides a little consolation.

Our judicial system is under intense international scrutiny and it failed its first real test.

I hope Mr Mubarak's second court appearance is handled better. The next few months will be fascinating. No one really knows the outcome.

Rascha Ragheb

It is true - this hearing was a historic moment for Egypt but for all the wrong reasons. I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed to see our nation put its former leader on the stand - or rather in a cage.

Image caption 'This trial is a smoke screen'

I feel indebted to Mr Mubarak. He pushed through reforms, oversaw development, supported a liberal economic policy and championed a multi-ethnic society.

I know our system of government, like any other country, has been susceptible to corruption. This is being weeded out. Insisting Mr Mubarak should be put on trial is utterly wrong. After all - just because a wall has a crack in it you wouldn't demolish it. Damaging the reputation of a frail old man does not address the underlying problems in our society.

When Mr Mubarak was ousted from power we witnessed the rise of fundamentalist groups in the country. Reform has been painfully slow and unemployment is high. The protests have not stopped. People still gathered at Tahrir square and tourists, concerned about their safety, have not returned.

The economy is in a shambles and it will take a decade before it recovers. I can not wait for Egypt's recovery. People who can are leaving in staggering numbers. My family and I plan to leave as soon as possible too.

This trial is a smoke screen. It is unlikely Mr Mubarak will receive a fair hearing. The outcome is certain to be a guilty verdict which could rip the country apart.

Moving to Cuba or the US seems more attractive than staying in Egypt right now.

Katherine Jones

Image caption 'I hope more revelations are uncovered'

I've lived in Egypt for 24 years and I took part in the protests which swept the country earlier this year. I am delighted to see that Mr Mubarak and his sons have been brought to trial.

The Mubarak regime was indelibly linked to corruption. I hope these hearings will not be used as a vehicle by the interim government to further their own interests. An easy distraction to placate the masses while army officials carve up and divide power for themselves.

Most Egyptians, particularly those who lost friends and relatives in the protests, simply want to see Mr Mubarak behind bars.

The televised courtroom images of Mr Mubarak confined in a cage made many people happy. They are not concerned with the outcome of the trial. Justice has been seen to be done. He looked miserable.

However, Mr Mubarak was not the only one behind the corruption that has left Egypt in a state of poverty and economic disaster.

Other officials were involved and helped orchestrate events. Egypt's tightly regulated media has prevented this from becoming public knowledge. I hope this trial uncovers more revelations.

I'm optimistic about the future although it will take long time before Egypt is back on its feet. But this trial is a good start.