Cairo: Egyptian prosecutors have demanded the death sentence for former President Hosni Mubarak and other defendants including the former interior minister for their role in the killing of protesters in the uprising that swept him from power.
Many Egyptians hope the trial will heal some of the scars of Mubarak's autocratic rule and help the country find stability after nearly a year of political turmoil under the military generals who replaced him in power.
But the multitude of witnesses, complexity of charges and the prosecution's difficulty in obtaining evidence from the security services might make it easier for the defence lawyers to push for a lighter sentence for Mubarak and his co-defendants.
For the final hearing of three that took place this week, Mubarak appeared in a courtroom cage reserved for the accused along with his sons, former interior minister Habib el-Adly and six senior police officers.
"The prosecution demands the maximum penalty against Mubarak and the rest of the accused, which is death by hanging," Mustafa Khater, a member of the prosecution team, told a court. "The killing of one person calls for a death penalty so what would the court say in a case where hundreds have been killed."
Khater was referring to those defendants who are accused of involvement in the death of protesters.
Mubarak's sons are facing charges related to corruption and other abuses, which do not carry a possible death sentence.
Khater's speech prompted cheers and claps from some lawyers who shouted: "Death, death... God is greatest."
Mubarak, who ruled for three decades before he was forced on Feb. 11 to step down after 18 days of public protests against his rule, is the first leader toppled by the wave of protests in the Arab world to stand trial in person.