Reactions are mixed in Egypt after Thursday’s acquittal of former president Hosni Mubarak of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule.
After a hearing that took most of the day, Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi announced to cheers of approval from Mubarak supporters who filled the court room: that Mubarak was innocent bringing joy to some Egyptians, but confusion to others
Mubarak, who had been staying at a military hospital since charged in 2011, was wheeled into a helicopter on Thursday morning on a stretcher.
The final ruling in that landmark case also rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits. That left no remaining option for appeal or retrial, according to a judicial source.
The families of those killed, who had attended the trial early on, were not present on Thursday but their lawyers condemned the verdict as politically motivated.
This was the first time Mubarak appeared in a court room since 2014.
A few of his supporters gathered outside the hospital and at Cairo’s Police Academy, including Ahmed Ashoor, who praised Mubarak.
The trial of Mubarak, who was toppled in one of the tumultuous uprisings 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 revolt – an uprising that sowed chaos and created a security vacuum but also inspired hope for democracy and social justice.
However, 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.