Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak, former Egyptian president and military leader has died at the age of 91. He was admitted to the intensive care unit on Saturday, his son Alaa Mubarak said on Twitter. On Monday, Alaa said his father had underwent surgery and he was in stable condition.
He is survived by his wife Suzanne Mubarak and two sons, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.
Following Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Mubarak stepped into the spotlight and became president of Egypt on October 14, 1981. Mubarak was known as a Western ally and made efforts to improve Arab-Israeli relations during his time in office. The Arab Spring that erupted in Egypt in 2011 brought an end to Mubarak’s tenure, as he was forced out of office and was tried for crimes against protesters and embezzlement in the following years.
Education and early career
Hosni Mubarak was born in Kafr-el Meselha, Minufiya, on May 4, 1928. Educated at the Egyptian Military Academy and the Air Force Academy, he began his career in 1952 working as a flight instructor at the Egyptian Air Force Academy. He quickly rose through the ranks and was named commander of the Air Force Academy in 1967, where he led the academy until 1969.
In 1972, he earned the title of Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Air Force and Deputy Minister of War, a post he held until 1975, when he was named as Egyptian Vice President under President Anwar Sadat.
Mubarak survived at least six assassination attempts over the years and was next to Sadat when he was assassinated by a group of Islamic fundamentalists on October 6, 1981.
During the nearly 30 years Mubarak reigned over Egypt, he was reelected four times before stepping down in 2011.
Mubarak was cozy with Western officials and had met in March 2002 with US Vice President Dick Cheney and pledged to pressure Saddam Hussein to allow United Nations inspectors to return to Iraq.
Mubarak also held multiple meetings during his tenure on the Arab-Israeli peace process. In June of that same year, Mubarak met with US President George W. Bush in Washington to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Mubarak’s peace plan for the region. In 2006, he hosted a summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in an effort to coordinate security measures along the countries’ shared border. Also in 2006, he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ask for renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestine. He also met with US President Barack Obama in 2011 to discuss Middle East Peace.
Despite visible efforts on resolving the region’s longest standing conflict, domestic pressures would prove to be the fateful blow for Egypt’s long-time president.
When the Arab Spring swept through Egypt in January 2011, Hosni Mubarak, facing immense pressure from the street, announced he would not run again for president on February 1, 2011.
Protests continued in the country’s streets that winter, and on February 10, Mubarak said on state television he would hand over powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but would remain as president and said that the promised reforms in Egypt would proceed under his government’s supervision.
The next day, the vice president announced that Mubarak was stepping down; the military’s supreme council would run the country. President Mohamed Morsi, who died in June 2019, would succeed Mubarak following elections in 2012.
In May 2011, Egyptian judicial officials announced that Mubarak, along with sons Alaa and Gamal, would be tried over deaths of anti-government protesters. He would be found guilty of complicity in the murder of Arab Spring demonstrators. He and his former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly were sentenced to life in prison for their crimes.
Mubarak was released from Tora prison in August 2013 and was placed on house arrest before being transferred to a military hospital.
In 2014, Mubarak once again found himself in an Egyptian court – this time for embezzlement. He was sentenced to three years in prison. The convictions were initially overturned, but a retrial reinstated the guilty verdict.
In November that year, Mubarak was acquitted in a retrial of conspiring to kill protesters in 2011 and was also acquitted of corruption charges related to gas exports to Israel.
In March 2017, Mubarak was released from prison again after Egypt’s top appeals court upheld the acquittal.