An Egyptian court dismissed on Saturday a murder charge against former president Hosni Mubarak over the deaths of protesters during a 2011 uprising, after a dramatic retrial in which he defended his three-decade rule.
The court also acquitted the ex-strongman of a corruption charge, but he will remain in detention because he is serving a three-year sentence in a separate graft case.
Seven of his security commanders, including the feared former interior minister Habib al-Adly, were acquitted in connection with the deaths of some of the roughly 800 people killed during the revolt.
Cheers broke out in the courtroom and Mubarak’s two sons and co-defendants stooped down to kiss his forehead when the judge read out the verdict, as Mubarak, 86, lay in an upright stretcher inside the caged dock.
But relatives of those killed in the uprising expressed dismay.
Corruption charges against the sons, Alaa and Gamal, were also dropped.
The usually stone-faced Mubarak, wearing his trademark shades, allowed himself a faint smile. He was later transported back to a Cairo military hospital where he is serving his sentence, appearing in a wheelchair
from a balcony door to wave at supporters gathered at the gates.
“I did nothing wrong at all,” he told an Egyptian private broadcaster over the phone from his hospital room after the verdict.
He praised his 30-year rule, which was marred by police abuses and corruption, especially the decade before his overthrow.
Apparently referring to economic growth, he said: “The last 10 years showed more results than the 20 years before, including telephones and so on, and then they turned against us.”