On Saturday morning, a criminal court in North Cairo dismissed the case against former President Hosni Mubarak, effectively acquitting him of all charges. These included ordering the killing of protesters during the January 2011 revolution, and corruption charges related to a gas deal with Israel.
The judge, Kamel al-Rashidy, dismissed the charges against the ousted president, citing a procedural error by the prosecutors. Mubarak was not originally a defendant in the case and prosecutors did not add him to the case until two months after it was filed. This, to the judge, showed that the prosecution had implied “there were no grounds for criminal proceedings” against Mubarak.
Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six former Interior Ministry officials were accused of orchestrating the deaths of at least 846 protesters during the January 25, 2011 protests that ultimately led to Mubarak’s ouster.
In June 2012, Mubarak was found guilty on all charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison – the maximum sentence in Egypt. However, the Cairo Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in January 2013, citing a lack of evidence from the prosecution and granting a retrial. In August 2014, Mubarak denied he ordered the killing of protesters in a televised court appearance.
According to state media the courtroom erupted into applause this morning when Mubarak’s acquittal was announced. On social media, the reaction was not so positive, with many expressing their outrage at the results of the retrial.
One twitter user wrote “#Egypt: Protesting 3-15 years in jail. Killing protesters: Not guilty.” Another user, @RanaMuhTaha, tweeted “Didn’t know it could still hurt so much,” while @rcallimachi wrote “Egypt comes full circle: Journalists remain in jail while ex-dictator Mubarak absolved of all wrongdoing by court.”
Galal Faisal, the brother of one of the martyrs who died in the 2011 revolution, told Mada Masr that he was glad about the trial’s result because it showed how dangerous people like Mubarak were to the people. He compared Mubarak and Sisi to Pharaohs and said the people would not stand for their actions.
However, Mohamed Naim, a political analyst, said to Mada Masr he did not think there would be any long-term consequences to today’s ruling. He explained that, “Sure, there is outrage. But for right now I don’t know, we are in a very autocratic regime and we don’t have the tools to mobilize right now with this level of oppression.”
Naim believes that Mubarak’s acquittal was in some ways an “apology for the revolution” from those currently in power in Egypt and a sign that they were compromising with the old regime.
“Mubarak is a really old man and the military believes that he did a lot for the country, he made mistakes, and he was punished for his mistakes by being among the prisons and hospitals for around four years and that’s enough,” he said.
Naim stated that the most interesting thing about the trial was not the acquittal of Mubarak – who is too old to be effective in politics – but Adly. According to Naim this shows some sort of compromise between the Armed Forces and the old regime, but what the nature of this compromise is he could not say.
The 1,430-page court document on the Mubarak verdict is to be released at a later date. The trial was previously postponed as the court needed more time to finish the paperwork giving its reasoning for the trial’s verdict.
Mubarak was previously found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 3 years in prison for embezzling over LE100 million from state funds for improving some of his many residences. His sons Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were sentenced to four years in prison on the same charges.
Mubarak is currently serving time in a military hospital in Cairo.