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Protests in Egypt after Mubarak evades noose

Egyptians filled the streets of their country in protest on Saturday after a life sentence was delivered to former president Hosni Mubarak and his security chief.

Many Egyptians had wanted to see Mubarak put to death, which was also the demand of the prosecution.

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Protests erupt in Egypt over Hosni Mubarak verdicts

Rallies were held in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities around the country.

Mubarak was convicted of complicity in the killings of almost 850 protesters during an 18-day uprising against his rule early last year. He was acquitted of a corruption charge. A senior lawyer for Mubarak's defense team said he intended to appeal the court decision.

Mubarak's former interior minister, Habib al-Adli, was also handed a life sentence in connection with the killings, which occurred during a crackdown on dissent that came in the early days of the uprising. Six senior police officers, also on trial, were acquitted - adding to the protesters anger on Saturday.

Back to Tahrir Square

Many of the protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, the same place where demonstrations early last year led to the end of Mubarak's regime.

Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for president in Egypt's upcoming presidential election, joined the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Earlier in a press conference, he told Egyptians to keep up their efforts in the "revolution."

"All of us, my brothers, must realize in this period that the continuation of the revolution, and the revolutionaries staying put in their positions in the squares, is the only guarantee to achieve the goals," he said.

Upcoming vote

Mubarak is the only leader toppled in last year's Arab Spring to be put on trial. He is also the first former leader in the history of Egypt to be put on trial by his own people.

His trial comes at a politically sensitive time for Egypt, with a fortnight to go before the run-off in the country's presidential election. The second-round vote pits a former prime minister under Mubarak - Ahmed Shafiq - against Mohammed Mursi, the candidate from the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned under Mubarak.

Once a winner from the polls has been determined, the military council, which has ruled the country since Mubarak was toppled, is supposed to hand over power.

mz,pfd/jm (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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