Hosni Mubarak won a huge court victory today that could soon make the 86-year-old former Egyptian leader a free man. A judge dismissed charges that held Mubarak responsible for the killing of hundreds of protesters in the final days of his rule in 2011, reports Reuters. The judge also dropped corruption charges against Mubarak and sons Alaa and Gamal. Mubarak did not go free, however, because he had been sentenced in 2011 to three years in a separate corruption case. Given that he's been in custody since then, the New York Times suggests that he might be out soon. It adds that the "stone-faced" Mubarak smiled upon hearing today's verdict.
"To rule for or against him after he has become old will be left to history and the Judge of Judges, the Righteous and the Justice (God) who will question him about his rule," said the presiding judge. The AP reports that the judge cited the "inadmissibility" of the case against Mubarak on technical grounds, though he apparently did not spell out his reasoning in his remarks. The rulings can be appealed. Mubarak's ouster was followed by elections that put Mohamed Morsi in power, but Morsi was ousted by the army last year. "The Mubarak era still hasn’t fallen," one leader of the Arab Spring movement tells the Guardian. "It hasn’t stopped killing—so why would they say Mubarak is guilty when they’re doing the same thing.” (Read more Hosni Mubarak stories.)