The New York Times reports that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s effort to have his corruption charges overturned by an appeals court has failed, as the court reconfirmed his three-year prison sentence on Saturday. However, Mubarak might be leaving jail soon anyway, given the total amount of time he has spent in detention since 2011.
The court also shaved a year off the sentences imposed on his sons Gamal and Alaa, who had already been released from detention, but were arrested again over the weekend, evidently due to public outrage over their attendance at an important funeral and taking family to see the pyramids.
If Mubarak is soon released despite the court upholding his corruption convictions, the NYT says it would be taken as further “erosion of the charges, convictions, and sentences that the authorities had hurled against him after the 2011 uprising.”
“All had been overturned or sent back for retrial since the military takeover led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013, which appears to have sapped the political will to punish the former president,” writes The New York Times. “Legal experts have said for months that Mr. Mubarak should have been eligible for release because there was no longer any legal justification for his detention.”
Upholding the last surviving conviction against Mubarak and his sons will keep them from leaving prison with entirely clean criminal records–more than just a symbolic gesture of appeasement to the family’s critics in Egypt, since they would be barred from seeking public office. The NYT notes an insider trading case is still pending against Gamal and Alaa, so they could conceivably be marched back into prison shortly after their father departs.
Considering the massive scale of the world-famous protests that drove Mubarak from power, the Egyptian public now seems, on balance, rather indifferent to his fate. Certainly, there are political activists and human rights crusaders eager to see him punished for his abuses of power, both during his reign and against the Tahrir Square protest movement, but many seem to have written Mubarak off as yesterday’s news, and some are even nostalgic for his decades-long “presidency.” The New York Times notes that when the ailing Hosni Mubarak was wheeled into his appeal hearing on a stretcher, he was greeted by a throng of supporters wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his face.