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Egyptian court dismisses case against Hosni Mubarak

An Egyptian court has dismissed charges against former president Hosni Mubarak for conspiring to kill protestors during the 2011 Egyptian revolt, media reports stated. The case was dropped due to a technicality and lack of jurisdiction. Habib al-Adli, former interior minister, and six senior security commanders have also been cleared of charges. The court also cleared Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal of corruption charges relating to gas exports to Israel.

In January 2011 the Egyptian Revolution stunned the world. Mass protests and civil disobedience broke out all over Egypt, the most populous African nation, where President Hosni Mubarak had reigned peacefully for about thirty years. A whirlwind eighteen day protest led to the ouster of the president and sweeping changes in the country's political system.

Brotherhood of the Arab Nations

In late December 2010 and early January 2011 Tunisia broke out in a large-scale uprising against the twenty-three year long oppressive regime of President Ben Ali. People from all walks of life joined in and the country was stirred into a civil war. President Ben Ali was forced to abdicate and flee the country on January 14, 2011. The success of the Jasmine Revolution provided the impetus required by Egyptians to stage their own revolution. Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak had served as the authoritarian president of Egypt from 1981 – an almost thirty year long regime in which Egyptians saw high levels of unemployment, food inflation, corruption and police brutality. By January 2011 Egyptians, encouraged by the success of the Tunisian Revolutions and aided by social media groups, staged their own protests. The demand for a new order was imminent.

"We are all Khaled Said"

Khaled Said, a young businessman of Alexandria, died in custody of the Egyptian police in June 2006. Khaled was allegedly in possession of a video showing the involvement of the Egyptian police in a drug deal. He was dragged by policemen out of a cyber café and brutally battered to death. While police records claim that he died of drug consumption, a grotesque picture of Khaled's torture was posted on the Internet. Activist Wael Ghonim set up a Facebook page called We Are All Khaled Saeed. The page went viral with thousands joining the site. Khaled's death provided the Egyptian protesters a rallying point in the 2011 Revolutions.

Taking The Protest To The Streets

Starting January 25, 2011, protests, strikes, and demonstrations were staged all over Egypt. Thousands of Egyptians united across economic and social divides in their endeavor to oust President Hosni Mubarak. Protestors thronged the streets of Cairo, Siwa, Alexandria, Mansoura, Luxor, Sinai, Suez, and Tanta. Civil disobedience became the order of the day. Though the early protests were largely peaceful in nature a number of lives were lost and causalities were reported when the police tried to forcefully suppress the people. The cauldron of legal, and socio-political issues long faced by the Egyptians, including a lack of basic rights, the ubiquitous corruption, and the extreme brutality of the Egyptian police, boiled over.

The January 25 protests were fueled by the youth of Egypt who mobilized thousands of Egyptians. They took to the streets of Egypt and demanded that their woes be heard and redressed. The use of Twitter and Facebook provided them the solidarity and ease of communication that was otherwise unavailable. Tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at the protesters at Tahrir Square, Cairo, but instead of breaking up the protests, the oppression only served to call international attention to the cause. The Egyptian government shut down the Internet and telecommunication links on January 26 and this further outraged the countrymen. The day was marked by a few arrests and some violent clashes.

The 'Friday of Anger', January 28, was the day the protests reached a peak. Thousands demonstrated on the streets of Cairo. Other cities reported similar uprisings. Violent clashes and prison breaks were reported. The government decided to deploy the military forces. President Hosni addressed his countrymen but failed to appease them. Curfew was declared the following day.

Leading To The Fall

Demonstrations and protestations escalated in the days to come. The president's commitment to enact reforms was rejected as too little and too late. The president tried to mollify the protesters by transferring some of his authority to the General Intelligence Directorate of Egypt, Omar Suleiman. He also vowed not to run for a further term. But by this time the people of Egypt had willed a complete removal of President Hosni. The crowd at Tahrir Square swelled to over 2 million on February 2, 2011. An estimated 750,000 demonstrated in Alexandria and over a million in Mansoura. Sadly the confrontations led to a number of deaths. The protesters carried on unrelentingly till President Hosni resigned on February 11, 2011, popularly called the 'Friday of Departure'.

Heroes of the Protest

Muslim Brotherhood, the long-banned Islamist party and a bitter critic of President Hosni backed the supporters through the revolution. Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Egypt from Vienna on January 27, 2011, and proceeded to remain at the helm of the protests.

Another hero who emerged was the activist Wael Ghonim. Already popular for having taken up the cause of Khaled Said, Ghonim was detained by the police of Egypt for over ten days. He was one of the key figures in the social crisis leading up to the revolution. Leading the women, was activist Asmaa Mahfouz whose blog posts helped in uniting the thousands and called for action at Tahrir Square.

A New Egypt

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and de facto head of state announced the suspension of the constitution on February 13, 2011. Military took over Egypt and the parliament was dissolved. Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik resigned from the caretaker government and Essam Sharaf took over. A constitutional referendum was held on March 19, 2011 and about 77 % of the people supported the changes. On November 28, 2011, the first round of parliamentary elections began and nine of the country's twenty-seven governorates went to poll. Election results are expected to be announced by January 13, 2012.

Over 845 Egyptians lost their lives in the protests of 2011. About 6,467 people were injured and 12,000 arrested in the protests. The loss to public property was incalculable. With the stability and security of Egypt severely compromised and the tourism industry of the country was the worst victim.

Last Updated on: September 30th, 2021
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