Mubarak protests hit Tahrir Square

Anger over dictator's "light" sentence.

Tahrir Square in Cairo - scene of many clashes and demonstrations during last year's Arab Spring - has once again filled with protesters.

The crowds gathered as it emerged that Egypt's former dictator Hosni Mubarak had been sentenced to life imprisonment over conspiring in the killing of demonstrators, but acquitted of all other charges. 

Mubarak's interior minister received life imprisonment alongside him, but six security chiefs were acquitted. Charges of fraud and profiteering were dismissed, and Mubarak's sons Gamal and Alaa were found not guilty of corruption. 

Human rights campaigner Hossam Bahgat, who has been monitoring the case, told the Guardian that a retrial was likely. "Today one is reminded of the closing argument of the chief prosecutor, in which he bitterly complained that he was on his own and had received no support from the state," he said. "It sends an extremely negative message and is a huge step back in our efforts to restructure the security apparatus. But this is not the end of the trial, in fact it is merely the beginning. There is no doubt that the verdict will go to the court of cassation, which is very likely to order a retrial, and we hope that any new trial will have the independence and integrity needed for further investigations."

As Mubarak was taken to prison, protesters began to gather - many summoned by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is strengthening its influence in the country as the presidential election approaches. Its candidate is competing against Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's prime minister, who is seen as the military's choice. Shafik had earlier beaten the secular, pro-revolutionary Hamdeen Sabahi to take part in the run-off.

The election is scheduled to take place on 16 and 17 June.

Crowds: Tahrir Square fills with protesters on 2 June over Hosni Mubarak's sentence. Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty
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Jeremy Corbyn sat down on train he claimed was full, Virgin says

The train company has pushed back against a viral video starring the Labour leader, in which he sat on the floor.

Seats were available on the train where Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, Virgin Trains has said.

On 16 August, a freelance film-maker who has been following the Labour leader released a video which showed Corbyn talking about the problems of overcrowded trains.

“This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed,” he said. Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.”

Commentators quickly pointed out that he would not have been able to claim for a first-class upgrade, as expenses rules only permit standard-class travel. Also, campaign expenses cannot be claimed back from the taxpayer. 

Today, Virgin Trains released footage of the Labour leader walking past empty unreserved seats to film his video, which took half an hour, before walking back to take another unreserved seat.

"CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming.

"The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey and over two hours before the train reached Newcastle.

"Mr Corbyn’s team carried out their filming around 30 minutes into the journey. There were also additional empty seats on the train (the 11am departure from King’s Cross) which appear from CCTV to have been reserved but not taken, so they were also available for other passengers to sit on."

A Virgin spokesperson commented: “We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case.

A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign told BuzzFeed News that the footage was a “lie”, and that Corbyn had given up his seat for a woman to take his place, and that “other people” had also sat in the aisles.

Owen Smith, Corbyn's leadership rival, tried a joke:

But a passenger on the train supported Corbyn's version of events.

Both Virgin Trains and the Corbyn campaign have been contacted for further comment.

UPDATE 17:07

A spokesperson for the Jeremy for Labour campaign commented:

“When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat. 

"Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.

"Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains. That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

A few testimonies from passengers who had their photos taken with Corbyn on the floor can be found here