Dubai – Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak was freed on Friday after a six-year imprisonment following his overthrow during the Arab Spring.
Mubarak, 88, was released from a military hospital in Maadi and is now back at his home in a Cairo suburb, his attorney.
Mubarak dominated the nation for three decades as President but went through a series of criminal trials after being forced from office in 2011.
He was sentenced in 2012 to life in prison for complicity in the killings of protesters during the January 2011 revolt. Amnesty International said at least 840 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured during the 18 days of street protests in Egypt.
Mubarak was tried again in 2014, but the court acquitted him and the co-defendants. In 2015, judges ordered him to be tried for a third time in the killings.
Earlier this month, Mubarak was acquitted of charges of killing protesters during the Arab Spring uprising. The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest criminal court, upheld an earlier verdict, making the acquittal final.
Mubarak has been hospitalised for long periods with heart problems and stomach cancer since his ouster. He has sometimes appeared in court on a stretcher or in a wheelchair. Mubarak had been confined at Maadi Military Hospital for treatment since 2012.
Mubarak’s only standing conviction is for embezzling money to furnish his private residences. He and his sons were convicted of corruption. Last month, Ibrahim Saleh, attorney general of the East Cairo prosecution, accepted Mubarak’s request to include time spent in prison pending trial as part of his sentence in the corruption case, state media reported.
The response to his release was unexpected from Egyptians. The muted response is a far cry from 2011 when the ousted Egyptian leader first went on trial over his role in violence against Arab Spring protesters. Emotions were raw then as Egyptians mourned the hundreds killed in the government crackdown following the massive protests.
But that euphoria faded as Egypt lurched from one political extreme to another – from the oppressive government of the Muslim Brotherhood to the military regime that now rules.
Today many Egyptians view Mubarak’s reign through rose-tinted glasses as a time when stability, the economy and tourism were stronger. Egyptians who still want change face protest fatigue and are demoralized. Meanwhile, in a final twist, thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 are now in prison.