Egypt's Hosni Mubarak Goes Free


Egypt’s ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, was set free from detention on March 24. His release marks the end of a six-year stay in federal prisons and, later, at Al-Maadi Military Hospital due to his failing physical condition. According to Mubarak’s lawyer, the former leader left the hospital in southern Cairo and moved back to his home in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo.

Hosni Mubarak became president in 1981 after the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat. After governing Egypt for a total of three decades, Mubarak’s reign was threatened—and ultimately ended—by protests across the nation during the Arab Spring. These protests, which have come to be known as the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, took place over the course of 18 days and involved millions taking to the streets. This deposition led to the election of Mohamed Morsi in 2013, whose rule was met with more protests and anger from millions of Egyptians. A popular uprising followed by a coup d’état in 2013 led to the current situation with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in control of Egypt.

After being convicted in 2012 for complicity in the killings of hundreds of protesters who died at the hands of security forces during the 2011 uprising, Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison. A subsequent trial in 2014 resulted in the court’s acquittal of Mubarak, which was followed by judges ordering him to be tried for a third time in 2015. This ruling upheld up a decree that could allow his release from detention. Earlier this month, the former president was acquitted of charges of killing protesters during the Arab Spring. Egypt’s highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation, upheld an earlier verdict which made the acquittal final.

El-Sisi was reluctant about the court's decision to free Mubarak due to the potential of public backlash. However, Mubarak’s release has caused little reaction, possibly due to Egyptians’ weariness of political unrest in the past six years, and the stability that Mubarak provided under his reign.