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What Mubarak’s Acquittal Means for Egypt

What Mubarak’s Acquittal Means for Egypt

August 1, 2017

Social Sciences & Humanities

Yoram Meital is professor of Middle East studies and head of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His research focuses on the political, social, cultural, and economic developments in modern Egypt. He is the author of Revolutionary Justice: Special Courts and the Formation of Republican Egypt.

Prof. Yoram Meital

Excerpted from Oxford University Press — On 13 March 2017, the legal saga of the trial of Hosni Mubarak ended. The deposed autocrat, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his complicity in the killing of hundreds of demonstrators and embezzlement on a grander scale, was acquitted by Egypt’s Court of Cassation and freed from his detention.

“The trial of the century,” as Egyptians have dubbed Mubarak’s prosecution, began soon after millions of Arabs took to the streets all over the Middle East, and it was concluded against the backdrop of the deep frustration of most from the results of the Arab Spring. This legal ordeal is but one prominent manifestation of the decisive role that the legal system played during the struggle over the reign of power following the toppling of Mubarak.

Mubarak’s trial symbolizes the deep divide between the revolutionaries who demand a fundamental change, and those who support the continuation of the regime that the ousted a president inherited from his predecessors, Anwar Sadat and Gamal Abd al-Nasser. The latter, who led the Free Officers coup (23 July 1952), strove to establish a democratic system of government that raised the banner of equality and justice. Their social and political achievements notwithstanding, Nasser and his confederates laid the foundations for an authoritarian government that would reign well into the next century.

Read Prof. Meital’s full article on the Oxford University Press website >>