A video still shows former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the courtroom for his trial on August 3, 2011.

© 2011 Reuters

(Cairo) – The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former interior Minister Habib al-Adly, and Adly’s six most senior security chiefs beginson August 3, 2011, in a specially designated courtroom in Cairo’s Police Academy. Mubarak and Adly face charges of ordering the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators on January 28 and 29. The official National Fact-Finding Commission established by the cabinet confirmed a total death toll of 846 during the three-week uprising from late January until Mubarak stepped down on February 11.

Human Rights Watch has documented how, during Mubarak’s 30-year rule, the Interior Ministry subjected thousands of detainees to torture and other ill-treatment with impunity under a permanent state of emergency.

Human Rights Watch has formally requested the judge presiding in the trial to allow its representatives to monitor the trial. Human Rights Watch monitored the first three sessions of the Adly trial, which authorities then merged with the Mubarak trial on July 25.

“If these proceedings scrupulously reflect international fair trial standards, they embody a clean break with the record of impunity that characterized Hosni Mubarak’s rule, contribute to a new and hopeful chapter in Egypt’s history, and set an important regional precedent,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.