Cairo, Egypt – A judge’s order that former president Hosni Mubarak be cleared on corruption charges might mean that the longtime ruler of the region’s most populous country could be released on bail as soon as Friday.
Mubarak still faces retrial over charges in connection with the deaths of protesters who sought his ouster in the 2011 revolution, and the prosecutor general still has time to appeal the judge’s order.
The current, bloody power struggle between the military and the supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has made much of what happened during Mubarak’s era fade into the background, at least in the national media.
Al Jazeera asked Cairo residents how they felt about the possibility of Mubarak’s release. The security situation meant that our reporter did not have easy access to many parts of the capital, which could have skewed the views of respondents.
|Adel Sayed Ahmed, 31, administrator at Ministry of Information
|Adel Sayed Ahmed [D. Parvaz/Al Jazeera]
[Mubarak] has a lot of supporters – the National Democratic Party members are still around and they’ve grown stronger since the fall of Morsi.
Mubarak’s release would be a failure of the judicial system, just like the failure to protect peaceful protestors is a failure of our security system.
There is a conspiracy at work. They kept him locked up long enough to have time to fabricate the evidence that would clear him of all charges. Our judicial system is rotten.
|Atif Ibrahim Sumaida, 59, shisha porter
|Atif Ibrahim Sumaida [D. Parvaz/Al Jazeera]
Mubarak’s release won’t cause any problems because of what the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi have done.
The Muslim Brotherhood would have destroyed us. They’ve killed innocent people, including soldiers who have been released from military duty.
|Adel Mahmoud Osman, 50, tea shop owner
|Adel Mahmoud Osman [D. Parvaz/Al Jazeera]
As of now, with the current situation, it is a good thing that Mubarak might be freed, especially after the atrocities committed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
We voted for them, gave them a year, but they didn’t work for our benefit or for the benefit of Egypt. Even after Morsi was overthrown, they wanted to rule the country by force.
Mubarak’s release won’t improve the security situation, but it would be better if he was cleared of all charges and released.
|Sara Kowkab Daoud, 50, mobile shop owner
|Sara Kowkab Daoud [D. Parvaz/Al Jazeera]
It’s a beautiful thing that [Mubarak] is getting released because people can now see that he was falsely accused.
I don’t think there will be any protests resulting from his release, but I think his supporters will come out, chant and celebrate.
We can now distinguish between the rule of Mubarak and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Mubarak there was more security, more prosperity. Things are more expensive now and there’s more unemployment. Morsi came and shut down factories. There are eight million people in the tourism industry who are just sitting at home now. We don’t feel safe walking on the streets anymore.
|Ahmed Mohamed Abdelal, 46, owner of butcher shop|
We don’t want [Mubarak] to be released, but if he is released, it’s because the judges have found that he is innocent. We cannot doubt our judicial system, even if it releases Mubarak.
It’s impossible that he will be president – he’s too old – but we will respect him. He is a war hero who fought in the 1973 war. He’s the spiritual father of Egypt.
Compared to what happened during Morsi’s regime, people have forgotten what Mubarak has done.
Follow D. Parvaz on Twitter: @dparvaz