Six years after the January 25 Revolution, Egypt’s civil society faces a systemic crackdown, but remains defiant.
Six years after the uprising that ended his rule, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been acquitted over his alleged involvement in the killings of hundreds of protesters in 2011.
The Court of Cassation’s final ruling on Thursday could see Mubarak walk free.
AL JAZEERA MIDDLE EAST DESK EDITOR, ALAA BAYOUMI:
“It has been six long years. Mubarak has stood so many trials in front of various courts.
He’s been tried mainly for two things. First in his role in killing protesters in the 18 days of the January 25 revolution. He was also tried for corruption.
Egyptians were closely watching the trial for involvement in killing protesters.
In 2012, he was found guilty and was sentenced to life. He appealed against that ruling. He was found innocent today.
This means that we don’t know who killed the protesters.
Habib al-Adly, his minister of interior, was found innocent before, and now Mubarak is “free’.
Most of the youth leaders of the revolution have been found guilty and are in jail. They are both from youth groups and religious groups. About 60,000 activists are in jail today.
The government was able to find enough evidence to indict them and sentence them to years in prison.
The striking point is that the most senior leaders of the Mubarak regime, who people revolted against, are found innocent because of a lack of evidence.”
After an all-day hearing, Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi announced: “The court has found the defendant innocent.”
The Cairo-based court rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits, leaving no remaining option for appeal or retrial.
Mubarak was accused of inciting the deaths of nearly 900 protesters in an 18-day uprising that ended when he stepped down on February 11, 2011.
He had been sentenced to life in 2012 but an appeals court ordered a retrial, which dismissed the charges two years later.
Mubarak, 88, has spent most of his time in a military hospital since his arrest in 2011.
He arrived to court on Thursday on a stretcher.
In January 2016, the appeals court had upheld a three-year prison sentence for Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges.
But the sentence took into account time served. Both his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were freed.
Most of the charges brought against Mubarak’s government members have been dismissed while the country still recovers from the aftermath of the uprising.
Mubarak’s successor, democratically elected Mohamed Morsi, served for only a year before the military ousted and arrested him in 2013, launching a deadly crackdown on his supporters.
Morsi and hundreds of his supporters have been sentenced in mass trials, although many of them are appealing the verdicts.
A former air force chief and vice president, Mubarak became president after fighters who had infiltrated the army shot dead president Anwar Sadat during a military parade in 1981, also wounding Mubarak.
He remained defiant throughout his trial.
“I did nothing wrong at all,” he told a private broadcaster after receiving the life sentence in 2012. “When I heard the first verdict I laughed. I said: ‘Ha!’.”
Apparently referring to economic growth, he said: “The last 10 years showed more results than the 20 years before, including telephones and so on, and then they turned against us.”