Six years after roaring crowds ousted him at the peak of the Arab Spring, former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was freed on Friday from the Cairo hospital where he had been detained, capping a long and largely fruitless effort to hold him accountable for human rights abuses and endemic corruption during his three decades of rule.
Mr. Mubarak, 88, was taken from the Maadi Military Hospital in southern Cairo, where he had been living under guard in a room with a view of the Nile, to his mansion in the upmarket suburb of Heliopolis.
“He went home at 8:30 this morning.”
The release begins a third act for a once unassailable Arab ruler and American ally who came to power in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat during a military parade.
In contrast with the loud and clamorous scenes that marked his departure from power, Mr. Mubarak was released under conditions of secrecy early Friday, the quietest time of the week in Egypt. The former leader was spirited across the city under tight security, and the news spilled out hours after his return to Heliopolis.
As the political will to pursue Mr. Mubarak seemed to dissipate, his supporters re-emerged in public, cheering him from the hospital gates on his birthdays and blowing kisses during courtroom hearings. Rowdy public protests against Mr. Mubarak fizzled under draconian anti-protest laws Mr. Sisi introduced.
Weary, apathetic or fearful of openly speaking their mind, Egyptians have grown shy of confronting power.
Public anger toward his misdeeds faded to weariness as Egyptians turned to more pressing matters: Mr. Sisi’s harsh crackdown on his opponents, the emerging war against Islamic State militants in the Sinai Peninsula, and a growing economic crisis.
Mr. Mubarak will enjoy the privileges of a retired head of state, including a security detail. Mr. Sisi’s main concern is likely to revolve around controlling the optics of Mr. Mubarak’s new lease on life.
Although Mr. Sisi routinely pays lip service in speeches to the 2011 uprising, his government has allowed most of Mr. Mubarak’s former allies, many of whom grew fabulously wealthy, to return to civilian life. In contrast, tens of thousands of opposition supporters are in jail or in exile abroad.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment