Factbox: Everything You Need to Know About the Mubarak Verdict

On November 29, Cairo Criminal Court dropped Hosni Mubarak’s charges relating to the killing of protesters in January 2011. It also found him innocent of corruption and graft charges. Former interior minister Habib al-Adly, and Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were also found innocent of charges they faced. Below is a complete breakdown of the charges, the verdict and appeal process, what happens next for Mubarak. It also includes documentation of both local and international responses to the verdict.  

Verdict and Appeal

The Charges against Mubarak: Mubarak was facing three sets of charges at the trial on Saturday. Mubarak stood accused of ordering the murder of protesters in the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster, as well as profiteering charges, relating to a business deal with exiled businessman Hussein Salem. The final verdict was issued on these charges in a 280-page document.

  • Complicity in the killing of protesters:
    • Mubarak’s charges relating to the killing of protesters were dropped by the judge – meaning he was neither found guilty nor innocent. Instead, Mubarak’s charges were dismissed on a technicality. Mubarak was added as a defendant in this case in May 2011, two months after former minister of interior Habib al-Adly and his aides. Judge Mahmoud al-Rashidi argued that by failing to add Mubarak to defendants list at the outset, he had made the “implicit” decision that there were no grounds for trying him. A detailed explanation of the verdict can be found here. A lawyer representing protesters’ families in the case, Yasser Sayed Ahmed accused the judge of basing his ruling only on evidence submitted by the interior ministry.
    • Unlike Mubarak, former interior minister Habib al-Adly together with six of his ministry aides were actually acquitted.
    • Mubarak and Adly were initially found guilty of these charges in June 2012, and were sentenced to life in prison. The retrial began in April 2013.
  • Corruption charges: Mubarak, together with his sons Alaa and Gamal, and businessman Hussein Salem, were acquitted of corruption charges. The four faced charges that Salem had gifted them five villas in the Red Sea, each valued at more than 5 million euros each, in return for over 2 million square meters of land. The charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.
  • Graft charges: Mubarak, Salem, and former minister of oil Sameh Fahmy were also acquitted of grafting charges, accused of conspiring to sell natural gas to Israel at below-market prices. In June 2012, Salem and Fahmy were sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but a retrial was ordered. The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict.

Watch the immediate reaction to the ruling in the courthouse

Watch the complete session

Previous Verdicts: Mubarak was sentenced in May 2014 to three years in prison for the embezzlement of $18 million. He was found guilty of embezzling public funds meant for the presidential palace renovation. His sons were also convicted in the same trial, sentenced each to four years in prison. According to Ahram Online, Mubarak is also currently being investigated in relation to two other corruption cases, but they have yet to be referred to trial.

Sources: Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, The Guardian, Reuters

Egypt analysts took to Twitter to reflect on the verdict

Mubarak Reacts: In his first interview following the verdict, Mubarak said he did “nothing wrong.” Speaking to Sada al-Balad’s Ahmed Moussa, Mubarak also said, in an apparent reference to the economic successes under his rule, “The last ten years showed more results than the twenty years before… and then they turned against us.”

The Appeal

Shortly after the verdict was issued, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat announced his intention to challenge the court’s decision to drop Mubarak’s charges. He ordered a study into the legal “reasons” behind the court’s verdicts. On Tuesday, he said that the study concluded that the verdict had a “legal flaw,” without elaborating. Barakat will also be appealing the acquittal for Adly and his aides. All appeal documents must be submitted within sixty days of the verdict. The ruling can be challenged at the Court of Cassation, which has the right to reject the appeal. If retried, this is the final time Mubarak can stand trial on these charges.

Sources: Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya

Jail Time

  • On Monday, the Prosecutor-General said that a decision will be issued within forty-eight hours on Mubarak’s release. Prosecutors are calculating the time Mubarak has spent in preventative detention. While Mubarak was sentenced to three years in prison in May 2014, was detained pending in April 2011 until August 2013. After the preventative detention period expired, he was placed under house arrest.
  • According to Egyptian law, preventative detention is seen as time served. Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, said that Mubarak has already served two-thirds of his May 2014 three-year sentence if time in preventative detention is taken into account. According to al-Deeb, “Under a recent legal amendment, there can be a release once two-thirds of a sentence has been served.”

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak

While Alaa and Gamal were both acquitted on corruption charges along with their father, they will remain in Torah Prison, as they are both standing trial in an ongoing, separate case. The pair were accused in June 2012 of profiting $331 million through insider stock trading, relating to the sale of the Watany Bank.

Habib al-Adly

In addition to the charges of killing protesters for which he was acquitted, Habib al-Adly was also facing charges of money-laundering, profiteering, and corruption.

  • In May 2011, Adly was sentenced to twelve years in prison on charges of money-laundering and profiteering. He was accused of profiting 5 million Egyptian pounds from corrupt deals during his time in office.  In 2013, the Court of Cassation ordered a retrial, and in June 2014, he was found innocent of the charges.
  • In April 2013, Adly was referred to court on charges of profiting 181 million Egyptian pounds through the seizure of land and property. While Adly was accused of exploiting his position from 1961 to 2011, the majority of the illegal activity was committed from 1997 onwards, during his time as interior minister. The trial has been adjourned until December 18.
  • The former interior minister, together with former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and former finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, is also accused of squandering 92 million Egyptian pounds in public funds in a deal to import license plates at inflated prices. Adly was sentenced to five years in prison but in February 2014, the verdict was overturned and a verdict in the retrial is expected on December 29. 

Hussein Salem

Following his acquittal in the gas deal trial, Hussein Salem announced on Saturday that he would return to Egypt as soon as possible. The businessman has been living in exile in Spain since the January 2011 uprising. Salem had previously been in talks with the government to waive half of his fortune in exchange for his charges being dropped. He has since denied the news.

Political Reactions


  • Egypt’s presidency issued a statement affirming the judiciary’s full independence in its decision to drop charges against Mubarak. It commanded the prime minister to compensate the victims of the January 25 uprising, and directed the legislative amendment committee to study the legislative amendments mentioned in the court.
  • The education ministry announced it is considering including the Mubarak verdict in history syllabi. Hani Kamal, spokesman of the ministry, said that the ministry is waiting for the verdict to become final.

Political Parties & Movements

  • Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party issued a statement on its website. It said the “junta’s judge” and the “fascist judiciary” deprived justice from the country, calling on “revolutionary forces” to unite and rise up.
  • The Egyptian Social Democratic Party issued a statement on its Facebook page, calling on Egyptian people to continue the spirit of the January 25 revolution and to work harder to bring freedom, social justice, and human dignity to the homeland. Mohamed Abul Ghar, chairman of the party, said the verdict “disappointed Egyptians.” 
  • The April 6 Youth Movement posted a number of statements on its Facebook page, calling on Egyptian youth and university students to participate in protests against the verdict. It also updated information on the confrontations with security forces during the protests. 
  • Students Against the Coup (SAC) also issued an official statement to call on “revolutionary forces” to rally and show solidarity with the January 25 uprising martyrs’ families. 
  • The Strong Egypt Party released a statement condemning Egypt’s counter-revolutionary path of tyranny and corruption. “Our revolution didn’t demand the fall of one person but demanded the fall of the regime,” the party said. “We in the party are still loyal to the objectives of 25 January to establish a new country based on freedom and social justice.”
  • Dostour Partystated, “We respect the decision of the judiciary; however the verdict confirms that the charges should not have been presented in front a criminal court in the first place. This is because there was no collaboration from the security forces to present the necessary evidence to the court.” The party vowed to collaborate with other parties, law experts, and political movements to retry Mubarak over charges of “oppression and election fraud.” 
  • The Popular Socialist Alliance issued a statement, “Mubarak Free and Revolutionaries in Prison,”  to condemn the fact that corruption and injustice during the Mubarak era have extended to the current period. It says that the alliance is also working to stage a retrial of Mubarak. 
  • The Democratic Current, an alliance which includes the Dostour Party, the Karama Party, and the Egyptian Popular Current movement, among others, expressed its “anger” towards the verdict at a press conference on Monday. The coalition demanded the government to clarify its stance on the verdict, and Dostour party leader said that his party will “keep a close watch on the developments. This is a crossroads of the revolution.” It launched a campaign, dubbed “Try Them,” to provide the judiciary “full report of the violations and crimes of the Mubarak regime, which affected the country’s security.”

Politicians & Activists

Ayman Nour, chairman of the Ghad al-Thawra Party and a former member of the Egyptian Parliament, posted tweets against the ruling. One tweet reads, “Justice is dim and injustice is glowing… protesters get 15 years, hundreds are executed for murdering one person, while those who killed hundreds are acquitted.”

    Prominent writer and a founding member of the Kefaya movement, Alaa al-Aswany, tweeted, “The plan’s last stage is executed successfully. Lobby spies and media drumbeaters. People, never raise your chins before your masters again.”

    Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) told al-Masry al-Youm, “The counter-revolution has started to put down its cards impetuously, which is good. Even if the counter-revolution wins one round, victory will be for the revolution eventually.” He also said, “Mubarak may be innocent on paper, but he is still a criminal, a killer and dictator.” One of his tweets reads, “What happens clearly indicates that the current system is hostile to revolution and democracy. It also does not recognize the rule of law.”

Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh tweeted that Mubarak’s verdict should be considered “a beginning of a new stage to struggle and learn from our mistakes. The people’s verdict on Mubarak has not changed”.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights released its statement, “Mubarak’s Verdict: A New Blow for the Justice System in Egypt.” The statement said that the verdict “further entrances impunity of gross human rights violation committed by security forces,  yet again absolved of responsibility for killing, injuring and torturing protestors.” The verdict reveals deep flaws in Egypt’s law and judicial system, which does not provide independent bodies to investigate law enforcement agencies.   

Sources: Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, SIS, Egypt Independent, DNE

Public Reactions

At the courthouse: The immediate reaction at the courthouse was a mix of joy and despair. Mubarak’s supporters celebrated, outnumbering the families of protesters, who were quick to leave the area after the verdict was issued.

The father of a 19-year-old protester killed in 2011 told Reuters, “This is a political verdict. The judiciary has been procrastinating for four years so they could clear him after hope had been lost.The verdict hit us like bullets. I consider that my son Ahmed died today.”

Read Jonathan Rashad’s eye-witness account and see his photos outside the courthouse here.

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Saturday: Following the verdict, protests erupted off of Tahrir Square, which had earlier been closed by security forces.

  • According to Ahram Onlineat least 3,000 protesters took part in the protests.
  • According to the Health Ministry, at least two people were killed and thirteen injured on Saturday night. According to Freedom for the Brave, a campaign to free Egyptian political detainees, the two deaths were caused by live ammunition.
  • Eighty-five people were arrested, including four journalists.
  • At least four remained in detention on Sunday.

Security forces dispersed protests using tear gas, water cannons, and birdshot, while tanks also rushed protesters. Egypt’s interior ministry issued a statement claiming that that the protests were peaceful until Muslim Brotherhood members joined at around 6pm.

Sunday: Tahrir Square remained closed on Sunday, and metro station, Gamal Abdel Nasser station, was temporarily closed. The Tahrir metro station, Sadat, has been closed since August 2013. Nationwide student protests were organized on Sunday, called for by April 6 Youth Movement, Resistance Movement and Freedom for the Brave.

  • Cairo University: Security forces intensified their presence outside the campus, as dozens of students protested on campus.
  • Al-Azhar University (Zagazig): University security forces dispersed protests, with seven female students injured in clashes and three female students arrested.
  • Zagazig University: Police dispersed protests with tear gas, after students clashed with university security. Eleven students were arrested.
  • Al-Azhar University (Assiut): Police dispersed a female student protest.
  • Fayoum University: Students staged protests.
  • Alexandria University: Security forces broke into faculty of commerce following on-campus.
  • Ain Shams University: Students staged protests.
  • Cairo University: Students protested on campus, blocking a university gate to prevent security forces from entering, according to the Students Against the Coup movement.
  • Al-Azhar University (Cairo): Students staged protests.
  • Tanta University: Students staged protests.
  • Mansoura University: Students staged protests.

Demonstrations planned outside the High Court building were canceled.

Sources: Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, The Guardian

Monday: On Monday morning, Tahrir Square was reopened to traffic after being closed for two days. It was closed once again for the second time on Monday afternoon. Both Islamist and revolutionary groups have announced their intention to continue protesting during the week.

  • The Dostour Party, Strong Egypt Party, Bread and Freedom Party, April 6 Youth Movement, Youth for Justice and Freedom and Resistance student movement announced a “revolutionary week” on Sunday. They are calling for trials for those responsible for corruption and protester deaths. They explicitly said they will not participate in any protests with the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL).
  • The NASL has called for mass protests on Tuesday, under the banner, “God is Great…One Hand.”
  • Muslim Brotherhood youth called for unity in the wake of the verdict, but their plea was rejected by the April 6 Youth Movement.

Reactions in the Media

Several media personalities took to the air to react to the verdict. 

Youssef al-Husseiny calling on his viewers to file lawsuits against Mubarak:

Al-Nahar’s Mohamed Roshdy reminded viewers of the people who died, listing the names of the protesters, showing their photos as he did.

ONTV’s Ahmed Khair listed the names of the two protesters who died in the protests against the verdict, and mocked the question that has been asked in other media outlets: who killed the protesters?

Amr Adib referred to the decision as historical, and emphasized the fact that this is not the final verdict and that the case can still be appealed.

Lamees al-Hadidy stressed the fact that the reaction in Egypt was mixed, but added that trying Mubarak in a criminal court was the path chosen by the political forces at the time, and that the judicial ruling must be respected.

Journalists and analysts on Twitter also took to the social media platform to express their reactions:

International Reactions

International NGOs

  • Transparency International criticized the dismissal of charges against Mubarak, calling it “a serious setback in the effort to fight graft and the abuse of power in the Middle East’s most populous country.” The group’s chair said, “The acquittal of Mubarak and his sons of corruption charges sends a message that leaders can get away with decades of running a country while coffers are stripped bare.”
  • Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued a statement saying, “Today’s court decision is further confirmation that the due process of law is dead in Egypt, and that impunity for human rights violators has become standard. While human rights activists are vigorously harassed and jailed by the courts, perpetrators of large scale acts of repression have their charges dropped or are never brought to trial in the first place.” The organization urged the United States to reconsider its bilateral relations with Egypt and enhance its support for the civil society.
  • Human Rights Watch’s executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Division Sarah Leah Whitson said, “The failure to hold Mubarak accountable for the deaths of hundreds of protesters, while Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Egyptians for merely participating in demonstrations, is emblematic of the glaring miscarriages of justice doled out by Egypt’s judiciary. This is a fresh slap in the face to every Egyptian who believed that their revolution would bring fairness into their lives.”

Foreign Officials

  • Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa called Hosni Mubarak Saturday afternoon to congratulate him on being acquitted by the Egyptian judiciary. He thanked Mubarak for his efforts to improve bilateral relations between Bahrain and Egypt.
  • Former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt took to Twitter to express his concern over the verdict:

  • US State Department Spokesperson Jen Paski commented on the verdict during the daily press briefing on Monday saying, “Generally, we continue to believe that upholding impartial standards of accountability will advance the political consensus on which Egypt’s long-term stability and economic growth depends. But beyond that, I would refer you to the Egyptian Government for any further comment.” When pressed on whether or not the US was critical of the verdict, Psaki said, “In general, we believe that impartial standards and the justice system should work as planned.”


Image: Photo: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to his supporters as he returns to Maadi military hospital in Cairo November 29, 2014 (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)