Mubarak’s re­lease comes amid fears of a re­turn to Egypt’s re­pres­sive regime

CityPress - - News -

Six years af­ter hav­ing been ousted, Egypt’s former pres­i­dent, Hosni Mubarak, has been re­leased from de­ten­tion, af­ter be­ing cleared of in­cit­ing the killings of hun­dreds of pro­test­ers in 2011.

On Fri­day Mubarak (88) left a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal in Cairo’s south­ern sub­urb of Maadi, where he had been held in cus­tody, and went to his home in the up­scale He­liopo­lis district un­der heavy se­cu­rity.

The ouster of Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 29 years, led to the coun­try’s first free elec­tion. But the win­ner, Mus­lim Brother­hood leader Mo­hamed Morsi, was over­thrown in a mil­i­tary coup in 2013.

Army chief Ab­del Fat­tah el-Sisi has since waged a fierce crack­down on Morsi and the Mus­lim Brother­hood, with hu­man rights groups claim­ing as many as 60 000 po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers cur­rently lan­guish in Egypt’s jails.

In con­trast, Mubarak-era fig­ures are slowly be­ing cleared of charges, and a se­ries of laws cur­tail­ing po­lit­i­cal free­doms have raised fears among ac­tivists that the old lead­er­ship is re­gain­ing in­flu­ence.

“As Hosni Mubarak goes free in Egypt, thou­sands of pris­on­ers still lan­guish in hor­rific prison con­di­tions,” said Har­riet McCul­loch, a deputy di­rec­tor of hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tion Re­prieve.

“Many face the death penalty on charges re­lat­ing to protests, in mass tri­als that make a mock­ery of due process,” added McCul­loch.

“Some were ar­rested as chil­dren – peo­ple like Irish cit­i­zen Ibrahim Halawa, who has suf­fered ter­ri­ble abuses in jail. The Sisi gov­ern­ment must now show that Egypt’s jus­tice sys­tem is wor­thy of the name and re­lease Ibrahim, and the hun­dreds like him.”

Mubarak was cleared for re­lease ear­lier this month, af­ter the coun­try’s high­est ap­peals court ac­quit­ted him of any in­volve­ment in the deaths of nearly 900 Egyp­tians dur­ing the 2011 up­ris­ing that lasted from Jan­uary 25 to Fe­bru­ary 11. He had been sen­tenced to life in 2012, but an ap­peals court dis­missed the charges two years later.

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.

Mubarak, then vice-pres­i­dent, was me­tres away from Sa­dat and was shot in the hand. He was sworn in as pres­i­dent eight days later.

– Al Jazeera

PHOTO: REUTERS / AMR ABDALLAH DALSH

BACK HOME Egypt’s former pres­i­dent, Hosni Mubarak, at the pres­i­den­tial palace in Cairo in 2010

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