Egypt’s top appeals court has acquitted Hosni Mubarak over his alleged involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprisings which ended his 30-year rule.

It was a final ruling in a landmark case that is bringing joy to some Egyptians and confusion to others.

Mubarak
walked free on Friday- for the first time in six years. He was overthrown in 2011.

He was the first leader to face trial after the Arab Spring uprisings which swept across the region. This ended his 30 year rule allowing him to go back home to Heliopolis.

After a hearing that took most of the day, Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi made the announcement to cheers of approval from Mubarak supporters who filled the court room.

Mubarak was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt – an uprising that sowed chaos and created a security vacuum but also inspired hope for democracy and social justice.

However, an appeals court ordered a retrial that culminated in 2014 in the case against the ageing former president and his senior officials being dropped.

An appeal by the public prosecution led to Thursday’s final retrial by the Court of Cassation.

A few of his supporters gathered outside the hospital and at Cairo’s Police Academy, including Ahmed Ashoor, who praised Mubarak.

Others believed the uprising which started on January 25th, and ended Mubarak’s rule, was a conspiracy.

The court also rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits. That left no option for an appeal or retrial, according to a judicial source.

The families of those killed, who had attended the trial early on, were not present on Thursday. Their lawyers condemned the verdict as politically motivated.

– By Lehana Tsotetsi