After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II was arrested and accused of several charges. In the following year, he was executed along with his family, after a quick trial for treason, killings and corruption. Trials that are held after revolutions are always political.
Hosni Mubarak was Egypt’s longest-serving president; he served six presidential terms. No one imagined that he would end up humiliated and imprisoned. He won every presidential election held, with little efforts, because the voting law guaranteed him the win, and even after the law was amended during his last elections, it was easy for him to win because the elections were a plotted play intending to guarantee him victory.
However, even with all the flaws in his legitimacy, Mubarak was never a tyrant ruler as has been said. During his reign, all his men worked in plain sight, including the opposition such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which had its own parliamentary representation, as well as its own media outlets and space of freedom.
Ahmed Maher from the April 6 Youth Movement, an opposition organization that was established three years before the Tahrir Square revolution, said that the plan of the revolutionary youth had not essentially intended to imprison former President Hosni Mubarak or have him sentenced to death. Those who participated in the revolution wanted to get a decent life, justice, freedom and human dignity.
Narrators of history
The Court of Cassation has finally acquitted Mubarak of the charges of killing demonstrators. Mubarak’s lawyer has said that these charges were not proven during the three last presidential terms after Mubarak rule, which saw the armed forces, the Muslim Brotherhood, and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi take power. I do not believe that innocence is important for President Mubarak for the sake of avoiding the death penalty, because he is 88 years old and he had been suffering from several illnesses since he was still in power. I do believe however that Mubarak is interested in being acquitted for the sake of history. Mubarak was a bad governor on an administrative level, his family and members of his party were known for corruption, but not killings.
The fact that the courts acquitted him will not be enough, because the narrators of history will decide his innocence or guilt.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
His lawyer, Farid al-Deeb says: “It is not reasonable for someone to spend 2211 days in prison on charges that he did not commit.” He asked “who will compensate for all these years?”
In fact, Mubarak’s imprisonment for 6 years was the price he paid for his stubbornness; he disregarded domestic and international warnings regarding corruption during his reign and marginalizing the army, which finally led to his defeat. Many got convinced over time that the January 25 revolution in 2011 could not have succeeded without the army’s consent for change, unlike what happened in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria, where the popular revolution defied all institutions and forces.
People will have different opinions about the former Egyptian president for many decades to come; some will blame him, others will defend him. The fact that the courts acquitted him will not be enough, because the narrators of history will decide his innocence or guilt.
This article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed
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