Activists said the verdicts mean that no one has been held directly accountable for killing the nearly 1,000 people who died during the revolt. Mubarak and former interior minister Habib al-Adli were convicted for failing to stop the killings, not for ordering them. “Both will appeal,” said Yusry Abdel Razak, one of Mubarak’s attorneys.
The long-awaited verdicts jolted Egypt’s presidential race, as Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who will compete in a runoff this month, sought to take advantage of the new groundswell of revolutionary rage to attack his opponent, Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
As the sun set in Cairo, thousands of Egyptians poured into Tahrir Square and into the streets of the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and other cities. The volume and vigor of the turnout were startling in a year in which revolutionaries have often appeared deflated and rudderless.
“All of this is a charade, and we don’t accept it,” said Amal Ramsis, 40, as she protested in the square.
Dissatisfaction with the ruling could push revolutionaries who had planned to boycott the runoff election for president into grudging support of Morsi, an uncharismatic conservative Islamist, experts said.
“The Brotherhood might be able to capitalize on this to push the line for revolutionary unity against the regime,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, an Egypt analyst at the Century Foundation. “The anger could push those planning to sit it out to cast a vote for the Brotherhood against the old regime.”
After the verdict was handed down, Mubarak was whisked away on a helicopter to the Tora Prison hospital in suburban Cairo. The former strongman reportedly suffered a heart attack after learning that he would not be returned to the military hospital where he has been held in recent months, according to a medical official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. As the aircraft touched down, Mubarak reportedly wept and refused for several minutes to debark. State media reported he was in stable condition Saturday night in the prison.
The decision marked the first time that Mubarak has entered a prison since his detention in April 2011. During that time, he has been housed at a military hospital.
The three-judge panel that presided over the landmark case cited a statute of limitations in acquitting the former president, his two sons and a business tycoon of corruption charges. Both Alaa Mubarak and Gamal Mubarak will remain in custody on separate charges of stock market fraud.