Inside Hosni Mubarak’s bloody dictatorship in Egypt he ruled with iron fist

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who died today aged 91, oversaw 30 years of tyranny before being ousted in the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.

The Arab Spring uprising, which saw 18 days of protest in Egypt, marked the end of his infamous autocratic regime.

Hosni Mubarak became the President of Egypt following the assassination of Anwar Sadat on 6 October 1981 and was voted in Egypt's people's assembly.

Many Egyptians who lived through Mubarak's time in power view it as a period of autocracy and crony capitalism, and their president a latter-day pharaoh.

They were inspired by the Tunisian revolt, and harnessed the power of social media to unleash popular anger over the brutality that shadowed his rule.

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Mubarak’s iron-fist reign was marked by totalitarian laws which gave the state powers to conduct random arrests and conduct surveillance of citizens.

Human rights organisations criticised Mubarak for running a bloody police state which cracked down on freedom of speech, where journalists were threatened by beheadings and protestors we tortured and locked up in donkey court trials.

Amnesty International reported in 2007 the police state was marked by “beatings, electric shocks, prolonged suspension by the wrists and ankles in contorted positions, death threats and sexual abuse”.

Human Rights Watch also believed up to 10,000 Egyptians were held without charge and that security forces regularly used torture to force people to tow the line.

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights went further claiming between 1985 to 2011, 204 victims died of torture and mistreatment in police stations.

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The violence was said to regularly spill out onto the streets at police checkpoints, while people's homes were also raided.

Egypt’s Central Security Forces and State Security Investigations Service were employed by Mubarak to spy on and suppress opposition to ensure his 30-year rule and to rig elections.

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Despite assassination attempts on his life, he became effectively a "Pharaoh", presiding over decades of stagnation and oppression.

Throughout he remained close ally of the US and was praised for his achievements in quashing Islamic fundamentalism in the region and maintaining Egypt's peace with Israel.

When toward the end when he was increasingly criticised by his Western allies for his human rights violations, Mubarak would play up the threat posed by Islamists.

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Abdul Mawgud Dardiri, a former MP for the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, told the BBC in 2013: "I'm sorry to say that he fooled the Europeans as well as the United States.

"He played on historical fears and ideas of a so-called confrontation between Islam and the West."

His days were finally numbed when protests erupted throughout the country on January 25, 2011, dubbed Egypt's "Day of Revolt".

Ten of thousands gathered in Cairo and thousands more in other Egyptian cities to bring the Mubarak government down.

While mostly non-violent, there were some reports of civilian and police casualties.

He was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt, but was freed in 2017 after being acquitted of most charges.

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He was later convicted in 2015 on a different charge of diverting public funds and using the money to upgrade family properties, along with his two sons. They were sentenced to three years in jail.

The former tyrant's death comes as the two sons of former Egyptian president were acquitted on Saturday of illicit share trading during the sale of a bank four years before the 2011 uprising.

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak and seven others had faced charges of illegally profiting from the process of selling the Al Watany Bank of Egypt to the National Bank of Kuwait in 2007.

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Mubarak, who continued to live in Egypt after he was ousted, had long maintained his innocence and said history would judge him a patriot who served his country selflessly.

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Following his death of Tuesday aged 91, Egypt's armed forces said it mourned the death of former President and air force commander Hosni "one of its sons and a war leader".

Egypt's longest-serving leader will be buried in a military funeral.

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