Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former autocrat who ruled for nearly 30 years before being ensnared in the 2011 Arab Spring that swept through the region, died Tuesday at 91, Egypt state TV reported.
The New York Times reported that the former leader spent his final years inside a military hospital in Cairo.
Mubarak was a career military pilot who led the air force during Egypt’s last war against Israel in 1973. He was made vice president in the mid-1970s and assumed the highest office in 1981 following the assassination of Anwar Sadat.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment for involvement in the killing of anti-government protesters during the uprising, but later retried and subsequently acquitted and released in 2017.
Nearly 900 protesters were killed in the 18-day movement that ended when he stepped down and handed over his power to the military.
President Obama said his administration urges the Egyptian government “to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made” after there was a brief confusion at the time.
“The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient,” Obama’s statement said. “Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.”
Mubarak maintained his innocence throughout and said at the time that he was approaching the end of his life with “a good conscience.”
“To rule for or against him after he has become old will be left to history and the Judge of Judges, the Righteous and the Justice (God) who will question him about his rule,” said the judge.
The Associated Press contributed to this report