Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak passed away at the age of 91. His son confirmed the news on Tuesday morning, on his Twitter account.
“Indeed, to ‘Allah we belong and to Allah, we shall return.’ My father Hosni Mubarak passed away this morning,” Alaa Mubarak said on Twitter using a common Muslim prayer
Hosni Mubarak was a strongman president who led the Arab world’s most populous country with an iron fist. He was deposed in 2011 and was the second Arab dictator to fall in a wave of popular protests known as the Arab Spring.
During his 29 years in power, Hosni Mubarak survived would-be assassins and ill health, crushed a rising Islamist radical movement and maintained the peace pact with neighbouring Israel that got his predecessor killed.
Hosni Mubarak was in the intensive care unit at a military hospital in Cairo when he died. He was in surgery on January 23, according to a tweet by his son Alaa Mubarak.
The Soviet-trained bomber pilot became one of the leading US allies in the Middle East, receiving tens of billions of dollars in American military aid, and his government’s continued observance of the Camp David accords with Israel was the cornerstone of the so-called “cold peace” between the formerly warring neighbours.
But following a January 2011 revolt in Tunisia that launched the Arab Spring uprisings, demonstrators on the streets of Cairo stood up to riot police, and the army refused to intercede on his behalf. Mubarak handed over power to a military council in February and went into seclusion in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
After his resignation, Mubarak spent several months on trial, accused of crimes including corruption, abuse of power, and conspiring to kill the protesters who rose up against him. Denying all charges, he showed no remorse and uttered no words of regret for those who were killed or injured.
A frail Mubarak attended much of his trial on a gurney, suffering, his attorneys disclosed, from a variety of circulatory ailments and stomach cancer. When the trial concluded the following year, the former president declined his opportunity to speak.
Though prosecutors had requested that Mubarak be hanged if found guilty, he was instead sentenced to life in prison. It was a punishment decried as too lenient by many Egyptians, who demanded the ultimate retribution for what they viewed as years of humiliation at the hands of the authoritarian leader.