China / World

Court finds Mubarak innocent in killing

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-03-04 12:42

CAIRO - Egypt's top appeals court found former president Hosni Mubarak innocent on Thursday of the charges of being responsible for killing protesters during the 2011 unrest that ended his 30-year rule, the final ruling in a landmark case.

The trial of Mubarak, who was toppled in one of unrest which shook the Arab world, captivated viewers as he appeared in a courtroom cage on charges ranging from corruption to complicity in the murder of protesters.

Mubarak was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day chaos.

But an appeals court ordered a retrial that culminated in 2014 in the case against the aging former president and his senior officials being dropped. An appeal by the public prosecution led to Thursday's final retrial by the Court of Cassation.

After a hearing that took most of the day, Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi announced to cheers of approval from Mubarak supporters who filled the courtroom: "The court has found the defendant innocent."

The court also rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits.

The courtroom was filled with Mubarak supporters who cheered "long live justice" as the verdict was read out and unfurled posters of their former leader.

His overthrow led to an election which brought in Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

'History would judge'

Morsi only lasted a year in office, however, after mass protests against his rule in 2013 prompted an overthrow by then army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who went on to win a presidential election in 2014.

Mubarak has long maintained his innocence in the case and has said history would judge him a patriot who served his country selflessly.

Sitting in a wheelchair in the defendant's cage earlier in the day, without his trademark dark sunglasses, Mubarak denied involvement in the killing of protesters.

"It did not happen," he said when the presiding judge read out charges of providing vehicles and weapons used to assault protesters and failing to take action to prevent deaths.

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

A source with knowledge of the matter said that although Mubarak was free to go home, he preferred to remain at the military hospital, under constant medical supervision.

Xinhua - Reuters

Court finds Mubarak innocent in killing

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