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Top Egyptian court acquits Mubarak over protester killings in final ruling

Egypt's top appeals court has acquitted ex-President Mubarak of involvement in protester killings during a 2011 revolt that ended his 30-year rule. The irreversible ruling could see Mubarak walk free.

Egypt's Court of Cassation found former President Hosni Mubarak innocent on Thursday over alleged complicity in the killing of protests during the 2011 uprising.

He had been sentenced to life in 2012 but an appeals court ordered a retrial, dismissing the charges two years later.

The ex-president was accused of inciting the deaths of protesters during the 18-day revolt that ended his three-decade rule. Around 850 people were killed during that time when police clashed with demonstrators.

Ägypten Hosni Mubarak wird zum Gerichtsprozess nach Kairo mit Hubhscrauber geflogen (REeuters/M. Abd El Ghany)

Mubarak was transported on a stretcher ahead of his trial on Thursday

The court also rejected demands by the victims' lawyers to reopen civil suits, leaving no remaining options for appealing the ruling or for a retrial.

The 88-year-old, who has spent most of his time in a military hospital since his arrest in 2011, appeared at the hearing on Thursday for the first time since the retrial began in November 2015.

In January 2016, the appeals court upheld a three-year prison sentence for Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges, but the sentence took into account time served. Both of his sons were subsequently freed.

In the six years after Mubarak was overthrown, most of the charges brought against his members of his regime have been dismissed while the country continues to recover from the aftermath of the uprising.

Mubarak's Islamist successor, Mohamed Morsi, only served for a year before the military ousted and detained him in 2013, launching a violent crackdown on his supporters.

Critics say that many of the abuses they fought under Mubarak have returned under current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi - a former army chief who ousted Morsi. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting with el-Sisi on Thursday in a push to limit migrant flows to Europe through North Africa.

rs/rg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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