Wednesday 24 January 2018

Despot Mubarak let out of jail after six years of legal wrangling

Hosni Mubarak waves to supporters from his room at the Maadi Military Hospital (AP)
Hosni Mubarak waves to supporters from his room at the Maadi Military Hospital (AP)

Maggie Michael in Cairo

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was freed from custody yesterday morning after six years of legal proceedings and wrangling that frustrated activists who had hoped he would face justice for the deaths of hundreds defying his rule.

The ailing, 88-year-old Mubarak left the Armed Forces Hospital in Cairo's southern suburb of Maadi and went to his home in the upscale Heliopolis district under heavy security, according to an Egyptian security official speaking on condition of anonymity.

His release marked a new chapter for the former autocrat whose people rose up against him in 2011 and demanded an end to his 30 years in power marked by corruption, inequity and reliance on a much-feared security apparatus.

It also underscored the failed aspirations of the Arab Spring movement that swept the region. Six years later, mass uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria have led to civil war, failed states or a return to heavy-handed rule.

Mubarak's lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, told the 'Al-Masry al-Youm' daily that the former president returned home with his sons, Alaa and Gamal, and the entire family, including his wife, Suzanne, celebrated his return over breakfast together.

On March 2, Egypt's top appeals court acquitted Mubarak of charges that he ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising. A criminal court had ruled in May 2015 that Mubarak serve three years and fined him millions of Egyptian pounds following a conviction for embezzling funds earmarked for the maintenance of presidential palaces. The ruling was upheld by another court last year, and Mubarak's release was for time served.

Prosecutors on Thursday reopened another corruption case linked to allegations that Mubarak received gifts worth $1m (€925,000) from the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

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