Hosni Mubarak joined the Egyptian Air Force and served in several units over the next few years. He became a lecturer in the Air Force Academy in 1952 and taught there till 1959.
He went to the Soviet Union in February 1959 for undergoing further training in a Soviet pilot training school in Moscow and another at Kant Air Base near Bishkek in the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. His training continued till 1961.
He earned a seat at the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow in 1964 and trained there for a year. He served as a wing commander in Egypt upon his return and commanded the Cairo West Air Base in October 1966.
In 1967, the President Gamal Abdel Nasser named Mubarak as the director of the Air Force Academy and entrusted him with the crucial task of rebuilding the air force, which the Israelis had destroyed during the Six Day War of June 1967. Two years later, in 1969 he became Chief of Staff for the Egyptian Air Force and in 1972 its commander-in-chief.
As the commander-in-chief he was credited with the successful performance of the Egyptian Air Force in the opening days of the war with Israel in October 1973, and was promoted to the rank of air marshal in 1974.
A new chapter began in his life when in 1975 the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat named him the Vice President.
President Sadat was assassinated in October 1981 and soon afterwards Mubarak assumed office as the president.
During the initial years of his administration he increased the production of clothing, furniture, and medicine and provided affordable housing. He tried to curb corruption in the administration and improved relations with the former Soviet Union.
He became popular and easily won a second six-year term in 1987. Being a former military officer, he stressed on security and expanded the Egyptian State Security Investigations Service (Mabahith Amn ad-Dawla) and the Central Security Forces (anti-riot and containment forces).
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He won the election in 1993 and also in 1999, greatly extending his tenure as the president. No other candidate could run against him because of a clause in the Egyptian constitution in which the People's Assembly played the main role in electing the President of the Republic.
The pressure for democratic reforms in Egypt was mounting and in September 2005 a multiple-candidate election was held. He won 88.6% of the votes in what was the first contested presidential election in Egypt's history, amidst allegations of mass rigging activities.
By this time the people of Egypt were growing increasingly dissatisfied with Mubarak administration. Corruption, unemployment, and anti-democracy activities were on the rise and activists were imprisoned without trial. Mubarak’s family was accused of accumulating wealth from bribes and other illegal activities.
Mass protests against him and his administration erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities in January 2011, leading to the Egyptian Revolution in which lakhs of protestors from all over the country demanded that Mubarak be overthrown. Though initially reluctant, he eventually gave in to the mounting pressure and resigned from his position as the president.
He had to then stand on trial on several charges including ordering the killing of protesters, corruption and abuse of power.
In June 2012, an Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to life imprisonment though Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned his sentence and ordered a retrial in 2013.
He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2014 on charges of embezzlement.
In 2015, Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned his sentence and ordered a retrial.
Awards & Achievements
In 1995, the Government of India honored him with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award which is presented to people "for their outstanding contribution to the promotion of international understanding, goodwill and friendship among people of the world".
He received the Military Honor Medal Knight Rank from the President of Syria.
He was honored with the Decoration of King Abdul Aziz-Excellent Degree from King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saoud.
Personal Life & Legacy
Hosni Mubarak was married to Suzanne Saleh Thabet. They had two sons. His wife was born to an Egyptian father and a British mother.
On 25 February 2020, Hosni Mubarak died in Al-Galaa Military Hospital, Egypt. He was 91 at the time of his death. He had recently undergone surgery for an unspecified medical condition and had spent many days in intensive care. He was called a "military leader and war hero" by Egypt’s president upon his death.