The court dismissed murder charges against Mr. Mubarak in the killing of protesters demanding an end to his 30-year rule — charges that once inspired crowds to hang the president’s effigy from the lampposts of Tahrir Square in Cairo and captivated the region. His reviled security chief and a half-dozen top police officials were acquitted.
The court also acquitted Mr. Mubarak, his two sons and a wealthy business associate of corruption charges; the three others had come to personify the rampant self-dealing of Mr. Mubarak’s era as much as the president himself.
Demonstrators in Cairo rejoiced Friday upon hearing that President Hosni Mubarak had been toppled after 18 days of protests against his government.Egypt Erupts in Jubilation as Mubarak Steps DownFEB. 11, 2011
If normal legal procedures are followed, Mr. Mubarak could soon go free for the first time since his top generals removed him from power amid a popular revolt in 2011, although it was not clear whether those rules would be adhered to.
More than five months after the inauguration of a military-backed strongman, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the authorities appeared to calculate that the Egyptian public was so weary of unrest that it had lost a desire for retribution against Mr. Mubarak, or at least that they now had a firm enough grip to suppress any backlash.
“Today’s verdict indicates a very deliberate decision by the regime to continue on the path of rewriting the history that led to Mubarak’s ouster and closing the file on the Jan. 25 revolution,” said Hossam Bahgat, a journalist and human rights advocate who had cheered on that revolt and is now studying in New York.