An Egyptian judge adjourned the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak and banned live broadcasts of it, today. As NPR's Mike Shuster reported this morning, the judge struggled to maintain control of the courtroom and Mubarak, who is charged with corruption and of ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters earlier this year, said only one world: "Present."
The judge, Ahmed Refaat, said he was banning the cameras from the next hearing on September 5, when the first witnesses are due to be called, "in the general interest".
He did not give further reasons, but he had already been forced to admonish lawyers for the defence and for victims of the alleged crimes who had argued repeatedly over who should speak and where they should sit.
The AP reports that the move was met with suspicion by those outside the courtroom. The father of a 16-year-old protester killed during the uprising said the decision was "not correct."
"I want to see justice realized before my eyes," he said.
But, the AP adds, lawyers praised the decision:
"This decision pleases most of the lawyers who are really working on the case, not those who want the TV appearance," said Gamal Eid, who represents a number of families of slain protesters and watched Monday's hearing from his office. "This will give us the right to some calm and concentration and turns it again into a legal case, not a show."
Bloomberg spoke to Mustapha K. al-Sayyid, a professor of political science at Cairo University, who said the trial has won the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is running the country during its transition, "some popularity."
"It provided proof that the military council is not giving Mubarak special treatment and that it is determined that he be subjected to the law," said al-Sayyid.