An Egyptian court dismissed pending murder charges against former President Hosni Mubarak Saturday, citing a technicality.

Mubarak, his two sons, and seven security employees were facing murder charges tied to the state's violent response to the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. According to the AP, 900 nonviolent protestors were killed during the 18-day demonstration; Mubarak and his co-defendants were officially charged in 239 of those deaths.

Corruption charges tied to allegations that Mubarak had sold Israel discount gas and received homes on the Red Sea as a kickback were also dropped Saturday.

Mubarak, who has reportedly been living in hospitals since he was overthrown nearly four years ago due to "poor health," appeared in court lying on a stretcher.

According to the New York Times, Judge Rashidi, who led the three-judge panel, declined to explain the legal reasoning behind the sudden dismissal, "insisting that any commentators read at least a 240-page summary of their 1,340-page explanation of the case."

But, according to the Times, the evidence against Mubarak had always been considered weak and unlikely to result in a conviction:

Legal experts said the charges against Mr. Mubarak had been flawed from the start. They said the case had been rushed to court to appease public demands for retribution against the former president after his ouster.

The murder charges, stemming from accusations that Mr. Mubarak directed the police to kill unarmed protesters, were difficult to prove because of the many layers in the Egyptian military's chain of command and the broad latitude for self-defense often given to the police. The corruption charges appeared to have been thrown together hastily without a thorough review of the many other allegations that surrounded Mr. Mubarak's 30-year rule.

It is the second time Mubarak has faced these charges—an earlier conviction was also dismissed on appeal.

[image via AP]