An Egyptian court has sentenced former president Hosni Mubarak to life in prison after convicting him of involvement in the murder of protesters during the uprising that ousted him last year.
Also given a life term yesterday was Mubarak’s former interior minister Habib al-Adly, while six former police commanders were acquitted.
Meanwhile, corruption charges against Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, were dropped.
Mubarak, the first Arab leader to be tried by his own people since the wave of uprising began in Tunisia in late 2010, was found guilty for permitting the killing at least 800 protesters during the 18-day revolt that overthrew him on February 11 2011.
The 84-year-old Mubarak was then ferried in a helicopter away from the police academy that was used as the courtroom in Cairo.
Hossam Baghat, an attorney from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told Al Jazeera that the verdict was likely to be appealed.
“This trial is far, far from over,” said Baghat, adding the the trial was inadequate.
While some cheered the verdict, others in the crowd outside the trial immediately started screaming “False judgment!”
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from outside the police academy, said people started throwing bottles at police shortly after the verdicts were read out.
The charges against Gamal and Alaa Mubarak were dropped with the judge saying “the case had lapsed” because the alleged crime took place over 10 years ago.
Alaa and Gamal, who were being tried alongside their father for corruption, were facing sentences of up to three years in prison, according to Human Rights Watch.
Judge Ahmed Refaat delivered a strongly worded statement before handing down the sentences. Mubarak, who wore sunglasses and a light brown jacket over his clothes, and his co-defendants were in an iron cage.
Refaat described Mubarak’s era as “30 years of darkness” and “a darkened nightmare” that ended only when Egyptians rose up to demand change.
“They peacefully demanded democracy from rulers who held tight grip on power,” the judge said.
Refaat, who was presiding over his last court session before he retires, said Mubarak and el-Adly did not act to stop the killings during 18 days of mass protests that were met by a deadly crackdown of security forces on unarmed demonstrators.
More than 850 protesters were killed, most shot to death, in Cairo and other major cities.
Egypt has been ruled by the military since Mubarak was forced to resign last year, after 18 days of nationwide protests.
Mubarak has been detained at a hospital in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh since his arrest last year, after the military appeared to bow to protester demands that he and former regime officials be put on trial.
But the military insists the prosecution's investigations and the charges eventually filed were independent judicial decisions.
Critics say the investigations were hasty and sloppy, however, resulting in a trial based on patchwork evidence that may see Mubarak acquitted on appeal.
During the trial, Mubarak was wheeled into the lecture hall that serves as a courtroom on a stretcher. He reportedly suffers from a heart condition, but the health ministry has denied his lawyer's claim that he has cancer.
The six former police commanders who were acquitted have all denied that they ordered police to shoot protesters or use deadly force during the uprising, in which demonstrators torched police stations across the country.
Mubarak’s verdict came just days after presidential elections have been trimmed down to a June 16-17 contest between Mubarak’s last prime minister, one-time protégé
Ahmed Shafiq, and Mubarak’s top foe, the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi.