Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak returned home on Friday, free following his release from custody after legal proceedings that took years since his 2011 ouster - years during which the country witnessed major upheavals– and rights activists saw their hopes scuttled that the autocrat would face justice for the deaths of hundreds who defied his rule.
Mubarak’s release also marked a new chapter in the saga of an ignominious fate of a president whose people rose up against him, demanding the end of a 30-year rule hollowed out by corruption, economic inequities and reliance on feared security officials to keep its hold on power.
It also underscored how the aspirations of the Arab Spring movement that swept the entire region have bottomed out. Six years on, the mass uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria have each failed in some way, leading to civil wars or failed states.
According to an Egyptian security official, Mubarak left the Armed Forces hospital in Cairo’s southern suburb of Maadi earlier in the morning. From there, he went to his house in the upscale district of Heliopolis under heavy security measures.
Two groups of security forces secured the route from the hospital to his house, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, refused to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
The lawyer, however, told the Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Youm that the ailing former president returned home with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and that the entire family, including Mubarak’s wife Suzanne came together at his house to celebrate his return and have breakfast together.
The 88-year-old Mubarak was acquitted by Egypt’s top appeals court on March 2 of charges that he ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 popular uprising that led to his ouster.