Cairo: Five months after a popular uprising ousted him from nearly three decades of absolute
power, deposed president Hosni Mubarak was flown into Cairo on Wednesday to face trial for conspiring to kill protesters and corruption, as hundreds of his supporters and opponents
scuffled outside the courtroom.

The trial, where an ailing Mubarak, 83, could face execution if found guilty, turned into a stormy affair. Violent clashes reported outside the police academy where the proceedings are being held.

About 50 pro-Mubarak supporters, holding his giant photograph afloat, declared "we will burn the prison, if they convict Mubarak", while his opponents, out in larger numbers, shouted back "death for dictator". The police backed by armoured cars kept the clashing public far away from the courtroom.

Mubarak was flown in from Red Sea resort town of Sharam el-Sheikh by a helicopter and brought to the courtroom on a stretcher with an intravenous drip, state television reported.

The television showed him lying on a hospital bed inside a mesh cage in the Cairo courtroom.

He, thus, became the first Arab ruler in modern times to be put in the dock. His trial has rattled Arab rulers -- Monarchs and Presidents -- who have long held sway over most of the Muslim nations in the region.

The prosecuting judge Rifat, who declared the trial open, has ordered the proceedings to be beamed live.

Along with Mubarak in the dock are his two sons Alaa and Gamal and his infamous interior minister Habib-al-Adil, the state television reported. Authorities have erected a special wired mesh cage from where Mubarak and his entourage would depose. A fence has been put to run through the middle of the court chamber to separate Mubarak from family of protesters killed in the uprising.

The official death toll in the revolution has been put at 846 in addition to another 1400 who lost their eyes as a result of being hit by rubber bullet.

 In a separate case that will also be reviewed on Wednesday Mubarak along with his two sons and fugitive businessman Hussen Salem are facing charges of corruption and amassing wealth illegally as well as selling natural gas to Israel at a price much lower than the international one.

Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for nearly three decades, is under arrest in a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh since April, where he receives treatment for a heart condition.

(Agencies)