Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak became president of Egypt in 1981—following Anwar el-Sadat’s assassination—and served in that position until 2011, when popular unrest forced him to resign.


Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 in Kafr-El Meselha, Egypt. In 1972, President Anwar el-Sadat appointed him commander of the air force. Three years later, Sadat named him vice president. On October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak became president of Egypt. He held the position until February 2011, when demonstrations across Egypt forced him to step down.

Early Life

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, known as Hosni Mubarak, was born on May 4, 1928 in Kafr-El Meselha, Egypt. The son of a government official, Mubarak began pursuing a military career path at a young age. He completed his studies at the Military Academy in 1949, and furthered his education at the Air Force Academy, where he learned to be a pilot. During his time at the Air Force Academy, Mubarak traveled to the Soviet Union to get some hands-on experience with their aircraft, which was also used in Egypt.

After graduating from the academy, Mubarak worked as a flight instructor. He rose through the ranks in the Egyptian Air Force, eventually becoming its director in 1966. In 1972, President Anwar el-Sadat appointed Mubarak as chief commander. Mubarak showed a talent for military strategy, distinguishing himself during the Yom Kippur War with Israel in 1973.

Political Career

In 1975, Mubarak was selected to serve as Sadat's vice president. He became active in negotiations with other powers in the region. On October 6, 1981, Mubarak was sitting next to Sadat when he killed by Muslim extremists during a military parade. He was elected president of Egypt the following week.

As president, Mubarak was an influential force in the Middle East, helping with negotiations on several issues. He supported Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and U.S. efforts in the region, including the Persian Gulf Crisis. Within Egypt, however, Mubarak faced growing unrest during his time as president. Many objected to his restrictive regime, and sought greater personal and political freedoms. He survived two assassination attempts in the 1990s.

Final Years as President

Beginning in January 2011, Mubarak faced increasing pressure to step down from office. Crowds of protesters filled the streets of Cairo, demanding for the end of his presidency and for democratic reforms. His regime attempted to end the protests through force, resulting in the deaths of several civilians. American President Barack Obama was just one of the world leaders who offered his support to the protesters. He called for Mubarak to step down as Egypt's president, saying "an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now." After weeks of intense pressure, Mubarak finally agreed to resign on February 11, 2011. He and his family left Cairo and sought refuge at their home in the resort town Sharm el-Sheikh.

Newly ousted Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were taken into custody in April 2011, as they were being investigated on corruption and abuse of power, among other charges. After being taken in custody, Mubarak had a "mild heart attack" during questioning. He was taken to a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, where he remained until his trial in August 2011. Mubarak spent the duration of the proceedings on a hospital bed.

On June 2, 2012, Mubarak was given a life sentence for his role in the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators. By that time, Mubarak's health had begun to deteriorate; while in prison, he had a stroke and was moved to a military hospital. He was tried on embezzlement charges in May 2014. Found guilty, Mubarak was given a three-year prison sentence in this case. 

Mubarak experienced a reversal of fortune later that year. In November 2014, he was retried on the murder charges related to the deaths of the protesters in 2011. An Egyptian court threw out his earlier conviction. He was also cleared of some corruption charges around this time.

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