CAIRO – August 3, 2011, will be remembered as a historic day in Egypt. Former President Hosni Mubarak was put on public trial, together with his two sons and his ex-interior minister, General Habib el-Adly. The repercussions for Egypt, indeed for the entire Arab world, will be profound.
This is not the first time that an Arab dictator has been put on trial. Saddam Hussein and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali preceded Mubarak in the dock. Hussein was tried with the help of a United States-led coalition; Ben Ali was tried and convicted in absentia, after fleeing to Saudi Arabia. But in Egypt, “It was done exclusively by Egyptians for Egypt,” as a friend put it to me. “That is why we are so proud of it.”