The trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] ended only a few minutes after it began on Saturday when the judge recused himself because of a conflict of interest. Mubarak, who ruled Egypt from 1981 until 2011, faced re-trial on charges relating to corruption and the killing of protesters during a 2011 uprising. The judge in the case, Mostafa Hassan Abdallah, recused himself [WP report] because he is presiding over another case involving violence during the 2011 uprising. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in June 2012 for his role in the killing of protesters, but his conviction was soon overturned [NYT report]. Mubarak will remain in custody while authorities search for a new judge to preside over the case.
Mubarak and members of his former government have been the subject of controversial judicial proceedings since the start of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] in 2011. In February an Egyptian court ordered the release [JURIST report] of Mubarak's former chief of staff. In January an Egyptian appeals judge overturned Mubarak's conviction [JURIST report] and life sentence and ordered a retrial for the former president on the charge of failure to prevent the killing of more than 800 protesters in 2012. Also in January former culture minister Farouq Hosni was acquitted of charges [JURIST report] of corruption and illegal enrichment. Last August the former secretary for the Mubarak's political party, Safwat El-Sherif, was referred to a criminal court [JURIST report] for abusing his office by obtaining real estates at discounted prices and illegally obtaining $49.2 million. In July an Egyptian court rejected pleas to release [JURIST report] Mubarak's two sons while they await trial, although their lawyer argued they were detained unlawfully for longer than permissible under Egyptian law. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others, were charged [JURIST report] with stock market fraud, using unfair trading practices and illegally manipulating the market.