After six years behind bars, Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president ousted following the Arab Spring protests, has been released. Mubarak was recently acquitted of all the charges that linked him to the death of more than 800 protestors.
The 88-year-old leader ruled Egypt for 30 years but was overthrown after an 18-day revolt that began on Jan. 25, 2011. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of being an accomplice in the killing of unarmed demonstrators during the uprising that ended his rule.
Mubarak was released from a military hospital today (March 24) his lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, told the New York Times. “I don’t have further details, but he is home and all is well now,” he said.
The release heralds a new and murky chapter for Egyptian politics. A new narrative based on fear and cynicism has replaced the heady, hopeful days of 2011. Under the new government of president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the economy is mired in a slump, and a showdown with the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula and beyond threatens tourism, a cornerstone of the economy.
As many as 60,000 political prisoners languish in Egyptian jails, with the government building 16 more prisons to handle the overflow.