Mubarak came to power on October 14, 1981 as the fourth Head of State since the 1952 coup d’état against the monarchy after Muhammad Naguib, Jamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat. He was re-elected to office by presidential referendum four consecutive times- in 1987, 1993, 1999 and 2005- thus becoming one of the longest-serving rulers in the Arab World, until the revolution broke out on January 25, 2011 and forced him to step down in February of the same year after his Vice President Omar Suleiman announced in a brief statement that Mubarak has decided to step down from office and had tasked the high council of the armed forces to run the affairs of the country. The Egyptian opposition- the April 6 Youth Movement, Kefaya and the ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ movement- chose the National Police Day to be the start of their revolution, protesting over adverse living, political and economic conditions and over what has been viewed as corruption and police brutality under Mubarak’s rule.
The revolution claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent youths, some of them killed at the hands of the police and others by the National Democratic Party’s henchmen. The Minister of Public Health in the caretaker Cabinet reported that until February 2011, death toll was roughly 365 while domestic sources estimated it to be at least 500. On the fourth of April, an official source at the Ministry of Health announced that the fatalities recorded in the hospitals and directorates under the Ministry totaled 384.
On Wednesday, August 3, 2011, Mubarak appeared for the first time behind bars at the Police Academy in Cairo on charges including crimes against humanity, killing demonstrators during the 25 January Revolution, squandering public funds and undermining the Egyptian economy by exporting natural gas to Israel at cheap prices. The trial soon became a court of justice chaired by Judge Ahmad Refaat. The ousted president appeared lying on a gurney bed inside a metal cage surrounded by his two sons, Alaa and Jamal, former Interior Minister Habib Al-Adili and a few associates. More than 300 people from the families of those victimized during the protests attended the hearing along with Mubarak’s defense, prosecutors and a number of media figures and journalists. The trial was aired exclusively on the state-run Egyptian television.
The appearance of Mubarak in court for his first trial has set a first-of-a-kind precedent in the Arab World, for he was the first Head of state to ever stand before a non-exceptional court. Hearings and investigations into the case are ongoing.
Mubarak was handed a life sentence by the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday, June 2, 2012; however, the Cassation Court accepted the appeal filed by the defendants against the sentence on January 13, 2013. He was placed under house arrest at a military hospital in Cairo after a court ordered his release on August 21, 2013 because he had served the maximum term of pre-trial detention.