Cairo: Egypt's defiant strongman Hosni Mubarak, cleared of murder and corruption charges in a retrial, has asserted that he "did nothing wrong" during his nearly 30-year reign.
"I did nothing wrong at all," the 86-year-old ousted president said in a telephone interview with a private television channel yesterday, soon after a court dismissed a murder charge against him over a deadly crackdown on protesters in 2011.
"I laughed when I heard the first verdict," he said of the first trial and the 2012 sentencing. "When it came to the second verdict, I said I was waiting. It would go either way. It wouldn't have made a difference to me either way," Mubarak told the Sada ElBalad TV station from the military hospital where he is serving a three-year sentence for corruption.
He praised his 30-year rule before his overthrow in a popular uprising in 2011.
Apparently referring to economic growth in Egypt, he said: "The last 10 years showed more results than the 20 years before, including telephones and so on, and then they turned against us."
The court also dismissed separate corruption charges against the former autocrat, in a retrial held after an initial life sentence was overturned on a technicality.
Mubarak was convicted in 2012 of issuing orders to kill peaceful protesters during the country's 2011 uprising and was sentenced to life in prison. He appealed and was granted a new trial last year.
Also acquitted yesterday were Mubarak's former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly and six of el-Adly's aides, who had been accused of being linked to the deaths of 239 protesters as security forces cracked down on them in 2011.
Mubarak's two sons Alaa and Gamal also were acquitted Saturday of corruption.
Mubarak still has a three-year sentence for a previous conviction for embezzlement, but it was not immediately clear how much time he has already been credited with, and therefore when he will be free.
Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat has said the government will appeal the verdict, Egypt's government-controlled Al-Ahram newspaper website reported today.