A nation-by-nation look at Arab Spring dictators
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison Saturday for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that pushed him from power last year. The 84-year-old was the first Arab Spring leader to be tried in his own country, but he is not the only ruler in the Middle East to be caught up in the uprisings that have swept across the region since early last year. Here's a look at the fate of other Arab leaders:
—TUNISIA: ZINE EL ABIDINE BEN ALI
The former Tunisian leader fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14, 2011, after a monthlong uprising that sparked the larger Arab Spring. Ben Ali has been convicted in absentia by a Tunisian court for corruption and other crimes during his 23-year authoritarian rule.
—LIBYA: MOAMMAR GADHAFI
After leading Libya for four decades, Gadhafi spent his final weeks shuttling from hideout to hideout in his hometown of Sirte until rebel fighters captured and killed him in October.
—YEMEN: ALI ABDULLAH SALEH
The Yemeni president clung to power for nearly a year in the face of mass protests against his rule, staying in place even after a bomb blast in June left him with burns over much of his body. Finally, under a U.S. and Gulf-brokered agreement, Saleh handed over power to his vice president, who earlier this year was elected president.
But Saleh remains in Yemen and at the head of his party, and his relatives and loyalists still hold powerful positions in the military, security forces and government. Many Yemenis accuse him of using those tools to undermine his successor in hopes of one day returning to power.
—SYRIA: BASHAR ASSAD
Syrian President Bashar Assad is clinging to power, despite a 15-month-old uprising against his rule that has turned into a bloodbath and near civil war. Activists say at least 13,000 people have been killed.
Assad's forces unleashed a withering crackdown against a revolt that began with peaceful protests, prompting many of the regime's opponents — joined by army defectors — to take up arms against the government. The military has responded with all-out assaults on opposition areas, leaving mass destruction in neighborhoods of some cities.
The conflict also has taken on a worrying sectarian tone. The Sunni Muslim majority largely backs the opposition, while the Alawites and other minorities support Assad, himself an Alawite. There have been tit-for-tat killings and a string of suicide bombings against military buildings.