EGYPT: HOSNI MUBARAK FREED, SIX YEARS AFTER OVERTHROW
March 24, 2017:
Six years after baying crowds ousted him at the peak of the Arab Spring, former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was freed on March 24 from the Cairo hospital where he had been detained, capping a long and largely fruitless effort to hold him accountable for human rights abuses and endemic corruption during his three decades of rule. (Source: The New York Times, March 24, 2017)
Mr. Mubarak, 88, was taken from the Maadi Military Hospital in southern Cairo, where he had been living under guard in a room with a view of the Nile, to his mansion in the upmarket Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.
“He went home at 8:30 this morning,” said his longtime lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, who stewarded Mr. Mubarak through a tangled cluster of prosecutions since 2011, speaking by telephone. “I don’t have further details, but he is home and all is well now.”
His release begins a third act for a once unassailable Arab ruler and American ally who came to power in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat during a military parade. Thirty years later, Mr. Mubarak was ousted by the multitudes that thronged Tahrir Square for 18 days in the heady, hopeful early months of the Arab Spring.
After becoming the first Arab leader to face trial in his own country, Mr. Mubarak was initially imprisoned at the notorious Tora prison complex, and was then held at the Maadi Military Hospital. He faced numerous charges, some of which carried the death penalty as a potential sentence.
Mr. Mubarak faced accusations of conspiring with the police to kill 239 protesters in Tahrir Square; of siphoning tens of millions of dollars from the state coffers; and of cutting off the country’s internet during the 2011 uprising, among other crimes. But what astonished Egyptians most was the sight of a man many had long feared, scowling in a courtroom cage.
Despite the severity of the charges, Mr. Mubarak remained defiant, insisting that it was he, not the Egyptian people, who had been wronged. His sons, Alaa and Gamal, joined him in the dock, accused of embezzling millions of dollars and overseeing a vast system of cronyism and corruption.