Former Mubarak Regime ‘Broken’ in Jail, As Egyptians ‘Marvel’ at Turn of Events

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Tora Farm. Photo: AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court formally dissolved the country's fallen National Democratic Party on Saturday and seized its assets, as its former leaders adjusted to life in jail. Gamal Mubarak, "a prince of the political scene," according to the New York Times, is now "prisoner No. 23" at the Tora Farm jail — "a two-story block of poured concrete that held those deemed enemies of the powerful" — and his older brother, Alaa, a former leader among the business elite, is "prisoner No. 24." Other prisoners at Tora Farm include the former prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, and Zakaria Azmi, the president’s closest confidant. Former president Hosni Mubarak, currently at a military hospital, is expected to join his former colleagues at Tora Farm soon. In jail, the former leaders are, well, pretty shaken:


They make docile inmates, their captors say, still stunned to find themselves behind bars. Gamal often refuses to eat. He shares a cell with Alaa. "Bear in mind they are very broken,” said a prison official. “They do everything they are asked. They don’t raise their voices.”

Gamal has reportedly lost half his weight and "doesn't sleep very well." Alaa "keeps to himself," officials said. “They are in a very, very bad psychological state."

The Egyptian people are, understandably, captivated by the sudden reversal of fortunes. According to the Times, all over Cairo, Egyptians are gathering in coffee shops, cafés, street corners, and homes to "marvel" at the fact that the former core of a tyrannical power structure is behind bars. Sobering up after months of excitement, some protesters are feeling whole new waves of emotion:


“I feel bad about the feeling that is growing in me, this rejoicing about how this guy was caught or that guy is now in prison,” said Mohamed el-Sawy, the founder of a youth cultural center trying to promote a dialogue about the future. “We now need revolutionary ideas; there is so much to change and do on all levels and in all directions.”

Other Egyptians are less conflicted. "The tables have not turned; the tables have been set right,” said Ayman Nour, a former presidential candidate once sentenced to five years at Tora Farm for allegations believed to be driven by a political vendetta. "The thieves are inside the prison now, and the honest people are free.”

As Inmates 23 and 24, Stunned Mubaraks Adjust [NYT]