Egypt court acquits Mubarak of murder charges

RSTV Bureau
A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak kisses his poster following his verdict.

A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak kisses his poster following his verdict.

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was on Saturday acquitted of a murder charge by a court which found him not guilty in the killing of hundreds of unarmed protesters during the 2011 revolution that toppled the former strongman’s nearly three decades-long regime.

In a dramatic reversal of fortune, Judge Mahmud Kamel al-Rashidi also acquitted Mubarak of corruption charges for exporting gas to Israel.

“It was not suitable to try him of crimes according to the penal code,” al-Rashidi said as he threw out the murder case.

The judgement overturns the life sentence Mubarak received in June 2012, and means he will face no punishment for allegedly sanctioning the murder of 846 protesters during Egypt’s 2011 uprising or for allegedly profiting from the export of gas at below-market rates.

The court ruled that Mubarak’s seven former security commanders, including his former interior minister Habib al-Adly, were “innocent” in the killing of anti-government protesters during the 2011 revolution.

His two sons were also acquitted from all corruption charges.

The final verdict of Mubarak’s retrial was issued in 1,430 pages, al-Rashidi said.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 but the verdict was successfully appealed in January, 2013, as the presiding judge ruled that there was not enough evidence presented by the prosecution. His retrial began in April 2013.

Though Mubarak was not convicted on any charges on Saturday, he still will not be freed as in May, a Cairo court sentenced Mubarak to three years in prison for embezzlement.

Mubarak is serving the sentence at a military hospital on the southern outskirts of Cairo.

In May 2011, al-Adly was also convicted of money laundering and profiteering, for which he received a 12-year jail sentence. The Court of Cassation overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial.

Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal are currently serving four-year prison terms for embezzlement of state funds.

A Cairo court in September had delayed the final verdict in Mubarak’s case, with the presiding judge saying that he had not finished reviewing evidence amounting to 160,000 pages for health reasons.

Mubarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years before being ousted in the uprising.

Mubarak’s Islamist successor Mohammed Morsi was himself removed last year by then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president, and put on trial along with hundreds of other Islamists.

For Egypt’s revolutionaries, the decision is the apogee of a counter-revolution overseen by the country’s new president Sisi, who was head of military intelligence under Mubarak.

The ruling leaves Mubarak convicted of just one crime during his three decades in power.

In January 2011, throngs of Egyptians filled the streets of Cairo to decry the country’s poverty, unemployment and repression. Protesters called for Mubarak to step down, but were met by a fierce and often violent government crackdown.

Since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011, the ailing former ruler has appeared in court numerous times for a variety of charges — sometimes wheeled in on a gurney. He often lay in a cage used to keep defendants during court proceedings.