03/03/2017, 18.23
EGYPT
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Former President Mubarak acquitted

He was accused in connection with killings during the 2011 Arab spring. The latest ruling ends the legal saga. Other members of his regime have also been acquitted. Al-Sisi was close to the former president and the military. Critics say the current government engages in the same abuses as Mubarak’s. Meanwhile, jihadism is on the rise in Egypt.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Egypt's Court of Cassation has acquitted former President Hosni Mubarak in connection with the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising. The verdict comes after lengthy proceedings that began in 2012.

Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi’s decision ends the long legal process that saw the deposed president charged with the killing of 239 protesters during the uprising of January 2011. Mubarak always maintained his innocence.

The outcome did not surprise victims’ relatives considering the links between the current president Al-Sisi and Mubarak.

Initially, the ousted president was convicted and given a life sentence. But appeals courts ordered a retrial twice.

The Court of Cassation rejected demands by lawyers for the victims’ families to reopen civil suits, thus closing the case permanently.

Mubarak’s supporters celebrated the ruling. The 88-year-old former leader had always said he was innocent, convinced that "History" would treat him as a patriot.

Lawyers of the families condemned the verdict as politically motivated. "This ruling is not fair and not just. The judiciary is politicised," said lawyer Osman al-Hefnawy.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who served as Mr Mubarak's military intelligence chief, was reportedly reluctant to free him.

Since he overthrew President Morsi and won the 2014 presidential election, Al-Sisi has launched a tough crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, whilst individuals linked to the Mubarak regime were acquitted.

Critics accuse the current government of the same abuses against which they had protested in 2011.

Despite his claim that he supports human rights, Al-Sisi said that the dangers the country faces require a "firm hand". Since he ousted Morsi, his anti-Islamist campaign has seen the growth of jihadism in Egypt.

The families of those killed in 2011, who had attended proceedings early on, were not present at the acquittal.

“Unfortunately, the blood of our family was lost in vain...they're in a better place than we are now," said Taha Hussein Mahmoud, whose 19-year-old son was killed during the protests in Alexandria, speaking to Reuters.

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