CAIRO — The judge trying ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters who toppled his regime ordered a halt to the live broadcast of his trial Monday after a chaotic session in which lawyers pushed, shoved and scuffled to get on television.
Showing the hearings live on state television had been a nod by Judge Ahmed Rifaat to activists who complained that the military rulers now in charge of the country were dragging their feet bringing Mubarak and stalwarts of his regime to justice.
"The aim is to remove the humiliation. Now, God knows how long it (the trial) will take," said bestselling novelist and rights activist Alaa el-Aswany.
The decision was met with suspicion by Ramadan Ahmed, father of a 16-year-old protester killed during the 18-day uprising that toppled the regime.
"This is not correct. How can I be reassured and feel the justice," said Ahmed, who was refused access to the courtroom. "I want to see justice realized before my eyes."
Rifaat said his decision was designed to "protect the public interest." He did not elaborate, but the presence of media had given the trial a circus-like atmosphere.