Last night I slept to news that the two sons of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had been detained for 15 days while being investigated on corruption charges. This morning I woke up to news that Mubarak himself was ordered detained for 15 days by Egypt's general prosecutor.
My reaction: disbelief. No matter how much I watch it on the news or read about it, it is just not sinking in.
I grew up in Egypt but never personally faced the injustices that many had to withstand. I was well aware however of the abuses that were taking place.
I was in Tahrir Square, the heart of Egypt's revolution, the day Mubarak stepped down on February 11th. Two hours before the announcement was made, I was talking to a man who had been detained for three years and 17 days under the most inhumane conditions. He described the torture, the crowded cells, not being given water on hot days and the food that "dogs wouldn't touch."
I think of this man today. His name is Shaaban El Naqib. I hope he is smiling.
I think of the families of the more than 800 people who were killed during the 18 days of the revolution. I hope their pain is a little less sharp today.
Mubarak, his sons and several former officials arrested this week are under investigation for corruption charges. There have been several estimates of the Mubarak family fortune, but there are no confirmed figures yet so I will refrain from mentioning any.
It is, however, the investigation into the violence against the peaceful protesters during the 18-day-protests that deserves the most attention. The peaceful protesters were shot at, attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets and even by government-sponsored thugs. And then there was the famous camel and horse-riding men that stormed into Tahrir Square beating protesters on February 2nd.
While putting Mubarak on trial might have its negative effects on other countries trying to topple their regimes, as fear of the same destiny will make leaders more resistant, it is an integral step for Egypt. It sets an example that wrongdoing will not be accepted. Leaders, officials, everybody will be held responsible. No one is above the law anymore.
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