Hosni Mubarak, the longtime president removed in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, has died in Cairo’s Galaa military hospital aged 91.
Mubarak’s son Alaa had in recent days detailed on social media the former president’s worsening health following surgery, and confirmed his father’s death on Twitter.
The former air force commander first came to power in 1981 after the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat, and ruled for 30 years until huge popular protests forced him from office.
Though he was then jailed facing a number of charges, Mubarak was acquitted of most of them and freed in 2017, with Egypt now under military rule. He was originally convicted in 2012 for conspiring to kill 239 demonstrators during the 18-day uprising and sentenced to life in prison.
In a statement, the presidency called Mubarak a “military leader and war hero”, and offered his family condolences. Meanwhile, the armed forces described him as “one of its sons and a war leader”.
Mubarak’s rule was renowned for its autocracy and cronyism, and his administration kept close ties with Washington, from whom Egypt received millions in military aid.
He also maintained tacit relations with neighbouring Israel, and was lauded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neatnyahu on Tuesday.
“On behalf of the citizens and government of Israel, I would like to express deep sorrow on the passing of President Hosni Mubarak. President Mubarak, my personal friend, was a leader who led his people to peace and security, to peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Vast protests against his rule centred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square finally forced Mubarak from office in February 2011, with Egypt’s first democratically elected leader Mohamed Morsi voted in the following year.
However, Morsi was also removed in a 2013 coup that ushered in a new period of military rule under President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi that critics say is even more autocratic and repressive than Mubarak’s.
Questions over justice
Ayman Nour, who ran against Mubarak in the 2005 presidential election, told Middle East Eye he had been jailed by the autocrat, “as a punishment for that decision”.
“Confronting people while they are alive is different from after their death. Therefore, personally I forgive Mubarak for his injustice towards me,” he said.
“However, concerning his injustice towards Egypt and the rest of the Egyptians, he is now going to face divine justice.”
Amr Darrag, a former minister and politician who opposed Mubarak and helped draft the first constitution after the president fell, bemoaned the lack of justice in Mubarak’s trials.
Those sentiments were echoed by Islam Lotfy, a leading member of the youth alliance that organised the 2011 Tahrir Square protests.
“I am sad not because he died but because he passed away without receiving a fair trial for his responsibility for corrupting political and economic life in Egypt and the country’s failure on all fronts,” he told MEE.
A military source told Reuters that the former air force officer will be buried in a military funeral, with the timing unclear. Agencies