CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Thursday ordered the name of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his wife Suzanne removed from all public facilities and institutions — the latest step in dismantling the legacy of the former leader’s 29 years in power.
The ruling will affect hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of subway stations, schools, streets, squares and libraries across the nation that over the years bore the name of the former leader or his wife.
In announcing the ruling, Judge Mohammed Hassan Omar said “people have uncovered Mubarak’s journey of corruption that began at a parade stand and ended at Tahrir Square.”
He was referring to the assassination of Mubarak’s predecessor Anwar Sadat in October 1981.
With Mubarak, then vice president, seated next to him, Sadat was shot dead by Muslim radicals while reviewing a military parade. Days later, Mubarak became president after a nationwide referendum in which he was the only candidate.
Tahrir Square in central Cairo was the epicentre of the revolt against Mubarak, where masses converged daily for 18 days of protests that eventually toppled the president. Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11.
“It has become clear that the size of the corruption (under Mubarak) that’s being uncovered every day exceeds by far anyone’s imagination,” said the judge.
Transport Minister Atef Abdel-Hameed reacted swiftly to the court’s ruling, telling reporters that he would move quickly to remove Mubarak’s name from the ministry’s facilities, including a major subway station at Ramses square at the heart of Cairo.
Last week, Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered Mubarak and his two sons detained on allegations of corruption and the deadly shooting of protesters.
Mubarak’s wife Suzanne, who wielded a great deal of behind-the-scenes influence over how the country was run, is due to be questioned over allegations of illegally amassing wealth.
Mubarak, 82, remains in detention under guard at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The court case was brought by lawyer Sameer Sabry against interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to force authorities to remove the name of Mubarak and his wife from all public buildings and institutions.
During an earlier hearing, hundreds of supporters and opponents of Mubarak clashed outside the court, pelting each other with rocks and water bottles. Several people were slightly injured in the clashes.