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Hosni Mubarak. (Photo: AP Photo/Tarek el Gabbas, File)
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Self-serving acquittal

Rainer Sollich/ kb
November 29, 2014

A Cairo court has dismissed the case against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The reasons for this are obvious, writes DW's Rainer Sollich.


For more than 30 years, Hosni Mubarak has won sham elections in Egypt.

In a bid to keep the largest and most complex Arab nation politically "stable," the powerful military from whose ranks he came hoisted him onto the president's seat time and again.

Only when the Arab Spring started to seriously threaten Mubarak's power did the military end its loyalty to him. The generals portrayed themselves as the leaders of a change that really wasn't one: They simply secured their political power and economic interests, just as they later did when they stepped away from the Muslim Brother and President Mohamed Morsi.

Easy scapegoat

At the time, Mubarak was an easy scapegoat for the generals to concentrate the people's anger on and to spare the real power clique: men from economically influential clans and the military. Mubarak's regime was hated by many Egyptians. It systematically responded to citizen protests against corruption and injustice with harassment and brutal repression. And yet, at the same time, the regime was still courted by Western politicians as a partner and bastion of stability.

So what of the charges against Mubarak? Despite the former dictator being responsible for the deaths of 800 people in the last weeks of his reign, there was no verdict. The victims' families' hopes for justice will now go unrequited. There will be no justice. Not in these times, and not under this regime.

Rainer Sollich. (Photo: DW/Per Henriksen)
DW's Rainer SollichImage: DW/P. Henriksen

No interest in regeneration

The ruling regime has snapped shut the files and drawn a line under the Mubarak era. The current leaders have no interest in regeneration because essentially they are the same forces that supported the Mubarak system for decades.

If this regime now protects its previous leader from a conviction, then it symbolically mostly frees itself: Like Mubarak, the head of this regime, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, not only comes from the military, but he has just been voted in as president in a questionable election.

Under the pretext of counterterrorism, he stands for continuity both in terms of violence and oppression. According to research by Human Rights Watch, under his rule, far more people have already been killed by state violence than in the three decades under Mubarak. And for the foreseeable future, no one will be held accountable. There is no rule of law in Egypt.

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