Former Egyptian Leader Mubarak Released After Six Years of Detention

Through his trial, Mubarak seemed baffled by people's anger, insistent that he had done his best by his country and adamant that history would vindicate him. Some were arrested as children - people like Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa, who has suffered bad abuses in jail. The hopes carried by Egyptian activists that the former autocrat would be more severely punished for his abuse of power have been scuttled.

The former Egyptian leader was overthrown in 2011 and was the first leader to face trial following the Arab Spring uprisings which swept the region.

While disillusioned by Mubarak's acquittal and release, rights lawyers and activists are likely to see it as a peripheral development in an increasingly military-run state. "It is indicative of a deeper, compounded crisis of transitional justice", said Mai el Sedany, a legal expert with the Washington think tank the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

According to Nadine Sika, assistant professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, the relative lack of public outcry against Mubarak's release is evidence of how hard the times are, and how sterile Egyptian political life has become.

"We carried out the decision to release the former president who is now on his way to his residence in Cairo's Misr al-Gedida district", Farid al-Dib, Mubarak's lawyer, told Anadolu Agency. Heliopolis is an upscale neighbourhood where the main presidential palace from which Mubarak once governed is located.

On March 2, Egypt's top appeals court acquitted Mubarak of charges that he ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

To the dismay of protesters who put their faith in the revolution, Mubarak left a military hospital on Friday where he had been detained since his 2011 ouster to a country where many now remember his stable rule with nostalgia.

Mubarak, 88, got into a helicopter after the verdict to return to the hospital in the leafy Cairo suburb of Maadi where he has already completed a three year sentence in a separate corruption case the only one in which he was convicted.

The rising political profile and economic influence of his sons, Alaa and Gamal, led many to believe Mubarak was grooming them to take power after his death, and raised concerns among his allies in the military that would later prove politically fatal.

Mubarak is not entirely out of the woods, as Sky News notes he is "the focus of a new corruption investigation after allegations he received gifts from the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper".

About 850 people were killed in the 18-day uprising against the almost 30-year rule of Mubarak.

The man who was killed, a building guard who was cleaning the property's garden, found "an unidentified metallic object". He was killed in the blast, and his wife and two children injured by shrapnel. Two groups of security forces secured the route from the hospital to his house, according to the security official.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

  • Salvatore Jensen