Ten Kuwaiti lawyers to help defend Mubarak

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CAIRO: Ten Kuwaiti lawyers will join the defense team for Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak in his trial on charges of corruption and authorizing the killing of protesters, the state news agency MENA said on Friday.

The Kuwaitis will be coming on board for the third session of his trial scheduled for Monday, MENA said without giving reasons for the move.

Analysts said close ties between Kuwait and the Mubarak family and respect for Egypt’s support of Kuwait after it was invaded by Iraq in 1990 prompted the lawyers’ decision.

"The Kuwaiti lawyers justified their participation as a gesture of gratitude to Mubarak’s support in liberating Kuwait … during the war with Iraq," said Sami Al-Faraj, head of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.

Other countries in the Arab Gulf region also view the Mubarak trial with dismay, since he was not only viewed as a friend of rulers there but a mainstay of the Arab political architecture during his three decades in power.

"All the Gulf countries like and respect Mubarak and are sad to see this trial, but in Kuwait people really appreciate how he led the talks to liberate the country and that’s something they will never forget," Al-Faraj added.

No one from Mubarak’s current defence team was available to comment. The addition of the 10 Kuwaitis brings Mubarak’s defencse team to 1,700 lawyers, of which only 50 will be allowed to attend the trial sessions, MENA said.

Mubarak, forced to step down in February after weeks of popular protests, is on trial for authorizing the use of force which resulted in the death of some 850 demonstrators.

He also faces charges of corruption and abuse of power.

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