LIVE VIDEO: WUSA 9 at 5am    Watch
 

Ex-Egyptian president Mubarak leaves Cairo prison

2:16 PM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • FILED UNDER

CAIRO - Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was released from prison Thursday after more than two years in detention, and amid a tumultuous political transition that began with his ouster.

The former president left prison by helicopter and was headed to a military hospital because of his health, the Associated Press reported, citing Egyptian state TV.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rose up in January 2011 against the now-deposed dictator, who ruled Egypt for 29 years. Months later, Mubarak appeared in a courtroom behind bars in what was a stunning moment for the Arab world as many hoped to finally see justice.

Some Egyptians on Wednesday were angry at his release. But in a sign of just how much public opinion has shifted since his ouster, others supported his release while some said it didn't matter.

"I want to see Mubarak in my home, shake his hand, ask him: How are you?" said Mohammed Bedoui, who works for a travel agency not far from Tahrir Square, the heart of the uprising against Mubarak.

"I like Mubarak," Bedoui said. "I don't want Mubarak to be in government but I don't want him in jail."

PHOTOS: Egyptians await Mubarak's release

On Thursday, Mubarak was released after being cleared a day earlier in a corruption case. But the 85-year-old still faces retrial for allegedly failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising against him. He also faces investigation into at least two other corruption cases.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi ordered Mubarak be placed under house arrest after his release. Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, still lives in Cairo.

The court ruling that led to Mubarak's release - even if temporary - may spur more anger in a nation already troubled by widespread violence and unrest and deep political division.

Opponents of the nation's new leaders say the revolution and all it stood for disappeared, and that Mubarak is a symbol of that reversal.

Egypt's first freely elected President Mohammed Morsi, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted July 3 in a military coup and has since been held incommunicado. Leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Morsi have been thrown in jail and the state is continuing a crackdown on Islamist groups, which rose to power after Mubarak's ouster.

"It's 2010 all over again," the Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-coup alliance said on Twitter. The group called for demonstrations on Friday to protest the July 3 coup by the military.

"Friday is the day we get back the revolution that was stolen from us," the group said.

Mohammed Abou Zeid Ali, who owns a clothing and flip-flop shop, said Egyptians would go back to protest in Tahrir Square, "but people are afraid of the gun."

Hundreds were killed last week when security forces crushed two protest camps where people gathered against the coup that overthrow Morsi.

"There is no freedom in Egypt," Zeid Ali said.

"I was in Tahrir before Mubarak was ousted," said Amr Karam, 33. "I fought the police to make Mubarak's system fall. Now, Mubarak is back."

"There is no justice for the people who died during the revolution."

The Tamarod movement, which drove protests and a petition campaign against Morsi in late June, called for a "popular trial" of Mubarak.

"We will not remain silent about freedom for any killer of the Egyptian people," it said.

Others, however, say Mubarak is no longer relevant in a nation concerned with more pressing issues, and still others welcome his release.

"I don't care about Mubarak now," said Cairo resident Akram Karam, not long before nightly curfew began in a city living under a state of emergency. "People aren't looking back at Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood. We have a new roadmap toward democracy."

"Mubarak was removed from the hospital in prison and will go to the hospital again. Who cares?" he said.

But others were glad to see him out, and said Mubarak wasn't a bad president compared to Morsi, who many blame for dragging the country down.

"Look at the street," said Yehya Gehab, standing outside an Egyptair office, where he works, downtown. "There's trash everywhere."

In the old days, that wasn't the case, he said. Others remembered a key component of Mubarak's era: security.

Police brutality under Mubarak's regime was a main grievance that led to the uprising in 2011. But security deteriorated after his ouster -- a major concern for many Egyptians.

"I thought the police under Mubarak weren't good," said Bedoui. "Now I realize they were."


Most Watched Videos