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Mubarak, Ex-President of Egypt, Dies 02/25 06:18

2/25/2020 - 06:19:00

Mubarak, Ex-President of Egypt, Dies   02/25 06:18

   CAIRO (AP) -- Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian leader who for nearly 30 years was 
the resolute face of stability in the Mideast before being forced by the 
military to resign after 18-day nationwide protests that were part of the Arab 
world's 2011 pro-democracy upheaval, died on Tuesday, the country's state-run 
TV said. He was 91.

   Throughout his rule, he was a stalwart U.S. ally, a bulwark against Islamic 
militancy and guardian of Egypt's peace with Israel. But to the tens of 
thousands of young Egyptians who rallied for 18 days of unprecedented street 
protests in Cairo's central Tahrir Square and elsewhere in 2011, Mubarak was a 
relic, a latter-day pharaoh.

   They were inspired by the Tunisian revolt, and harnessed the power of social 
media to muster tumultuous throngs, unleashing popular anger over the graft and 
brutality that shadowed his rule. In the end, with millions massed in Tahrir 
Square and other city centers around the country, and even marching to the 
doorstep of Mubarak's palace, the military that long nurtured him pushed him 
aside on Feb. 11, 2011. The generals took power, hoping to preserve what they 
could of the system he headed.

   The state TV said Mubarak died at a Cairo hospital where he had undergone an 
unspecified surgery. The report said he had health complications but offered no 
other details. One of his sons, Alaa, announced over the weekend that the 
former president was in an intensive care after undergoing surgery.

   Though Tunisia's president fell before him, the ouster of Mubarak was the 
more stunning collapse in the face of the Arab Spring shaking regimes across 
the Arab world.

   He was convicted along with his former security chief on June 2012 and 
sentenced to life in prison for failing to prevent the killing of some 900 
protesters during the 18-day who rose up against his autocratic regime in 2011. 
Both appealed the verdict and a higher court later cleared them in 2014.

   The acquittal stunned many Egyptians, thousands of whom poured into central 
Cairo to show their anger against the court.

   The following year, Mubarak and his two sons - wealthy businessman Alaa and 
Mubarak's one-time heir apparent Gamal --- sentenced to three years in prison 
on corruption charges during a retrial. The sons were released in 2015 for time 
served, while Mubarak walked free in 2017.

   Since his arrest in April 2011, Mubarak spent the nearly six years in jail 
in hospitals. Following his release, he was taken to an apartment in Cairo's 
Heliopolis district.

   For the man who was long untouchable --- even a word of criticism against 
him in the media was forbidden for much of his rule --- prison was a shock. 
When he was flown from the court to Torah Prison in Cairo in 2011, he cried in 
protest and refused to get out of the helicopter.

   Over the years, Mubarak tinkered with reform but shunned major change, 
presenting himself as Egypt's sole protection against Islamic militancy and 
sectarian division. The U.S. tried pushing him harder for reforms, but 
succeeded only in alienating him. Fearful of losing its alliance with the most 
powerful Arab country, Washington backed off.

   But the failure to fulfill repeated promises of change steadily deepened 
public despair, and those seeking a democratic future were dismayed to see 
Mubarak making apparent moves to set up a dynastic succession in the shape of 
his businessman son, Gamal Mubarak.

   Hosni Mubarak, born in May 1928, was vice president on Oct. 14, 1981 when 
his mentor, President Anwar Sadat, was assassinated by Islamic extremists while 
reviewing a military parade. Seated next to Sadat, Mubarak escaped with a minor 
hand injury as gunmen sprayed the reviewing stand with bullets. Eight days 
later, the brawny former air force commander was sworn in as president, 
promising continuity and order.


(KR)