Things seems to be looking up for ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He made his first public appearance in about a year today and looked noticeably healthier, maybe even a little cocky, according to several media accounts. Mubarak showed up for the start of his retrial on charges that he ordered the killing of protesters near the end of his rein, but legal proceedings crashed to a halt after only a few minutes when the judge recused himself and referred the case to another court. Observers seem split on whether the delay is good or bad news for Mubarak, but descriptions of the former president were universally positive:
- Guardian: "He appeared in much better health than in his last (appearance). He arrived in court wearing sunglasses, smiled and waved at onlookers, and seemed relaxed—perhaps hopeful that Saturday's proceedings would secure his release."
- New York Times: "He waved to the courtroom several times with the signature turn of the wrist he used as an all-powerful autocrat addressing his people. Though his lips were pursed, he turned up the corners of his mouth several times in an unmistakable smile. No longer stone-faced and sullen, he chatted with his sons, or sat with his fingers pressed together in front of his chin as though he were listening in concentration from behind a desk in his office."
- Reuters: "Propped up on a gurney in a cage with the other defendants, he looked fitter and more relaxed than on previous appearances in the dock, holding animated conversations with his son Gamal, and occasionally smiling and waving to people in the courtroom. "
- Associated Press: "In earlier court appearances, Mubarak's two sons would often stand to shield their father from the cameras, but at the start of the new trial Mubarak appeared to be grinning at times as he waved to his supporters. His wave seemed to suggest a nod to increasing nostalgia among some Egyptians for his rule, when tourism and other vital economic pillars fared better."