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Egypt’s former President Mubarak dies at 91

By Kidega Livingstone

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has died at the age of 91, according to state media.

Hosni Mubarak was in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Cairo when he died. The ex-president went into surgery on January 23, according to his son Alaa Mubarak on Twitter.

Mubarak was described as “ousted strongman” because he ruled Egypt for nearly three decades before stepping down in February 2011.

In a statement to mark the passing of Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described him as “a leader who led his people to peace and security, to peace with Israel.” 

He described Mubarak as a personal friend, Netanyahu said, “I met with him many times. I was impressed by his commitment; we will continue to follow this common path. I would like to send condolences to President Sisi, to the Mubarak family and to the Egyptian people.

The Egyptian Armed Forces extended condolences to the family of Mubarak after his death was confirmed on Tuesday. 

“The Armed Forces mourns one of its sons and one of the leaders of the glorious October war, former President of Egypt, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, who passed away this morning and extends condolences to his family, to military officers and the armed forces,” a statement said. 

Mubarak graduated from military college in 1952 and rose up the ranks until he became commander of the air force during the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel. 

However, Pro-democracy activists react to the death of Mubarak

Activists who helped overthrow Hosni Mubarak in 2011 are reacting to his death on social media.

“The corrupt butcher has died without being held truly accountable for his crimes,” Egyptian activist Hossam al-Hamlawy wrote on Facebook

“To the dustbin of history, and hopefully Sisi will receive an end fitting of his massacres,” he added, referring to current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is widely accused of being more repressive than Mubarak, and violently quashing protests against his rule.

In August 2013, at least 817 protesters were killed by security forces in an Egyptian sit-in, according to Human Rights Watch, which dubbed the attack one of the largest “killings of demonstrators in a single day.” 

Mubarak was toppled in pro-democracy protests in February 2011. He was the second Arab dictator to fall in a region-wide wave of popular demonstrations known as the Arab Spring.

The late autocrat was jailed for six years on corruption charges following his overthrow. He spent most of his imprisonment in a military hospital. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison for complicity in the killing of protesters during the January 2011 protests. He was later acquitted of those charges.

Amnesty International said at least 840 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured during 18 days of street protests in Egypt. 

“His fall in 2011 gave many hope as he was reviled,” tweeted Timothy Kaldas, who took part in the protests, and is currently a Non-Resident Fellow at Washington DC-based The Tahrir Institute.

“He lived to see a more brutal dictator take his place who has done so badly that many now miss Mubarak,” said Kaldas. “He died peacefully. The protestors his regime killed weren’t so lucky.”

Supporters of Mubarak remember his presidency as a period of stability and moderation, a stark contrast from the political turbulence and economic hardships that followed the Arab Spring.

But his critics say his repression robbed Egypt of a political life, paving the way for the turmoil of the last decade.

“Historians will dissect his legacy,” tweeted Egyptian-British academic H.A. Hellyer. “Frankly, 9 years after the #Jan25 uprising succeeded in pushing him out of power, but failed to revolutionise Egyptian politics, the first thing that comes to mind is this: much of the turmoil of the past decade is down to Mubarak’s rule.” 

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