Mubarak walks free after six years in jail

Indo Asian News Service

Cairo, March 24 (IANS) Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was freed from detention on Friday and left the military hospital where he had spent most of the past six years since the revolution that ousted him from office, his lawyer said.

Advocate Farid el-Dib said the 88-year-old former leader left Cairo's Maadi military Hospital on Friday morning and returned to his home in the northwest of the city, Xinhua news agency reported.

Mubarak, who was overthrown as Egypt's President in 2011 in response to mass protests against his rule, was acquitted by the country's top appeals court on March 2 of murder charges.

Initially arrested in April 2011, two months after stepping down, Mubarak stood trial on charges ranging from corruption to involvement in the murder of protesters demonstrating in the 2011 uprising which ended his 30-year rule.

Since then, he has spent almost six years in prison and military hospitals.

Mubarak has already served a three-year sentence for embezzling state funds allocated for maintaining presidential palaces, but time he had spent in detention in connection with the murder charges was subtracted from it.

He was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for ordering the murder of 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt.

In 2014, an appeals court ordered his retrial along with his senior officials. But the charges were dropped.

Then the public prosecution appealed the retrial and the Court of Cassation, the highest in the country ordered his acquittal on March 2.

In all, more than 800 people are believed to have been killed as security forces clashed with protesters in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities around Egypt, during the 2011 uprising.

For many activists, his freedom would represent the end of the fight for justice for the 30 years of abuse and corruption throughout his dictatorship and for the violence during the revolution.

--IANS

soni/vt