An Egyptian court on Saturday dismissed a criminal case against the country’s former president Hosni Mubarak, who was charged with the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster. Mubarak, who was also accused of corruption regarding a gas export deal with Israel, was sentenced to a life in prison in 2012, a verdict which was appealed.
The court acquitted the 86-year-old Mubarak of both the charges he faced, along with his sons Alaa and Gamal, according to The Associated Press. Mubarak’s security chief and six of his aides were also acquitted of the same charges by the court.
Mubarak’s former interior minister, Habib al-Adli, who was convicted of corruption in the gas export case, was also acquitted. Along with Mubarak and his aides, the court was also trying Hussein Salem, a businessman and one of Mubarak’s, long-time friends.
The rulings can be appealed, Reuters reported , adding that the courtroom erupted into cheers after the verdict was announced. Judge Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi had reportedly said that too much time had passed since the crimes had been committed for the court to rule on the case.
The 18-day uprising in Egypt in 2011, that continued until Mubarak stepped down from the presidency, led to almost 900 protesters being killed in clashes with security forces. The case before the court however, dealt only with the deaths of 239 protesters, AP reported.
Mubarak ruled Egypt for about 30 years, after which Mohammed Morsi was elected president. Last year, Morsi was ousted in a military coup, following which Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief, stepped in as the new leader of Egypt.
"The regime is the same," Mahmoud Ibrahim Ali, whose wife was killed, told AP, according to BBC, adding: "Names have changed but everything is the same.''