- The former Egyptian leader came to power in 1981, after his mentor, President Anwar Sadat, was assassinated during a military parade.
- Having been removed from office by the Arab Spring in 2011, Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison a year later for the death of 239 protesters during the 18-day uprising.
- Since he was deposed, Mubarak's life had alternated between courts and hospitals.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to resign during the Arab Spring in 2011, died Tuesday, aged 91 in a military hospital in Cairo, Egyptian state television reported. Mubarak ruled Egypt as an authoritarian for nearly three decades, and was one of the United States’ main allies in the Middle East against armed groups. He was also a peacekeeper between Egypt and Israel.
The former Egyptian leader came to power in 1981, after his mentor, President Anwar Sadat, was assassinated during a military parade. The occasion was an annual event, held in Cairo, to celebrate Operation Badr, during which the Egyptian Army had crossed the Suez Canal and taken back a small part of the Sinai Peninsula from Israel at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War. At the time, Sadat had just signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979, after the Camp David agreements, negotiated by the then-American President, Jimmy Carter.
Mubarak remained in power, exercising it with an iron fist. He was highly criticized for using a state of emergency to crack down on political opponents, and the final years of his life were spent battling charges of brutality on his opponents and corruption. It was the deteriorating economic situation in the country that drove thousands of people to the streets demanding the fall of the regime and, mainly, of the Egyptian President.
Having been removed from office by the Arab Spring in 2011, Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison a year later for the death of 239 protesters during the 18-day uprising. In 2017 however, Egypt’s top appeals court cleared the former President of any responsibility for the killing of hundreds of people during the 2011 protests that ended his 30-year grip on power.
In 2014, Mubarak with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, had been convicted for crimes of corruption and embezzlement of public funds committed during the decades that he served as Egypt’s President. He was released two years later, thanks to his deteriorating health. Since he was deposed, Mubarak’s life had alternated between courts and hospitals.
Mubarak’s downfall paved the way for the first free elections in Egypt, which brought the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, led by Mohamed Morsi, to power. Morsi was himself eventually toppled in 2013 by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has remained in power in Cairo ever since. Human rights organizations and activists have continually denounced the growing repression in Egypt under Sisi.
Muhammad Hosni Said Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 at Kafr-El Meselha, in the north of the country. He graduated from Egypt’s Military Academy in 1949, and was transferred to the air force where he steadily rose up the ranks, becoming head of the Air Force Academy and then Air Force Chief of Staff in 1972. Mubarak’s star shone even brighter when President Anwar Sadat made him Vice President, from where he rose and assumed the country’s presidency following Sadat’s assassination.