Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak has died at the age of 91, nine years after he was removed from power during the Arab Spring.
Mubarak, the autocratic face of stability in the Middle East for nearly 30 years, died at a hospital in Cairo this morning after undergoing treatment in intensive care following surgery.
The former air force officer was removed from power in 2011 by the military after 18-day mass protests that saw thousands flood into the capital’s Tahrir Square and 900 Egyptians killed in a violent crackdown.
He was arrested two months later and spent several years in prison and military hospitals as he stood trial for the deaths of anti-government protesters.
Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt, but was freed in 2017 after being cleared of the most serious charges against him.
According to the World Bank, during Mubarak’s rule, GDP grew from $ 23.4 billion to $ 236 billion, and GDP per capita increased from $ 517 to $ 2602. External debt also fell by $ 10 billion, from $ 45 billion to $ 35 billion. According to Al Jazeera, his rule is partially characterized by corruption, police brutality, political repression and deep-seated economic problems. At the same time, he was an ally of the United States, “the guardian of peace between Egypt and Israel.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has paid tribute to the support he received from Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reports.
“His Excellency praised the stances of the late President in supporting the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people, in achieving their rights to freedom and independence,” Wafa reports, adding that Abbas “mourned [Mubarak’s passing] with great sadness and sorrow.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of his “deepest sorrow” on behalf of Israel and its people. “President Mubarak, a personal friend of mine, led his nation to peace and security,” he said.
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El-Baradei, a key opposition figure in Mubarak’s declining years, also paid tribute. “May God have mercy on the former president … and grant his family patience and comfort,” he said.
rotesters who took part in the revolution that unseated Mubarak were also forgiving. “He was loyal and loving of Egypt,” said opposition activist Wael Ghoneim. “He took on a great responsibility toward the Egyptian people.
“He was right a lot of the time and also wrong a lot of the time … history will decide.”
Former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, who ran against Mubarak in the 2005 elections and was later jailed, was also conciliatory. “I promise to God I personally forgive him,” he said.
Ordinary Egyptians, many of whom admired Mubarak but complained of corruption, oppression and unemployment under his rule, had mixed feelings about his death.
“We had good and bad memories,” said Sherin Saad, a woman in her 30s, who criticized graft and the privatization of public companies, which Mubarak’s critics say enriched the elite.
State TV said that he had health complications without offering other details.
Egypt’s armed forces today described him as a ‘war hero’. Mubarak is set to be given a military funeral.