Mubarak Won’t Be Making a Comeback, but His Release from Prison Is a Bad Sign for Egypt

How It Works
Aug. 22 2013 11:46 AM

Hosni Has Left the Building

Supporters of ex-Egyptian PresidentHosni Mubarak gather outside the police academy in Cairo during a hearing in his retrial on July 6, 2013.

Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has reportedly been transported by medical helicopter from Egypt’s Tora prison. The court ordered his release yesterday after a corruption charge against him was settled earlier this week.

Keep in mind, Mubarak has not actually been freed. He’s being placed under house arrest and still faces numerous charges of corruption and brutality as well as a retrial on the charge of failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the 2011 uprising, for which he was sentenced to life in prison last year. His sons Alaa and Gamal will remain in jail facing corruption charges. And at 85 years old and in poor health, Mubarak’s political career is behind him. (Undaunted, some supporters have already set up a Facebook page supporting his candidacy for president next year.)


All the same, as the proceedings against him roll on, it seems quite possible that the dictator against whom Egyptians revolted two years ago could be able to live out the rest of his days in comfort. Meanwhile, Mohammed Morsi, the president Egyptians elected, remains in jail facing criminal charges that could carry the death penalty. The spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was arrested just this week, and 38 members of the Brotherhood were killed in prison under mysterious circumstances last weekend.

It would be going too far to say that everything is “back to where it started.” The situation is far too unstable and fluid for that. But while Mubarak himself may be permanently off the political stage, the remnants of the state he helped build live on—and his supporters are more confident than ever. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 10:00 PM “Everything Must Change in Italy” An interview with Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 29 2014 1:52 PM Do Not Fear California’s New Affirmative Consent Law
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.