Zyad el-Elaimy was among millions who rallied to overthrow Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but four years later he has been visiting activists in jail, as the ousted strongman edges closer to freedom. The jubilation that marked the toppling of Mubarak - a key event of the 2011 Arab spring - is dead as activists say an even more autocratic regime now rules the most populous Arab country. Since he deposed Mubarak's successor, Islamist leader Mohammed Mursi, in 2013, former army chief and now President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is accused of having installed a more repressive regime. But Sisi enjoys support from many Egyptians weary of political and economic turmoil. "Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity" were not just slogans but the aims of pro-democracy activists who converged in their millions on Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square in a movement that overthrew Mubarak. After his ousting, Mubarak was detained and put on trial with his security chiefs on charges of involvement in the deaths of protesters during the revolt. The charges have been dropped, bringing Mubarak closer to release. And days before the fourth anniversary of the January 25, 2011, revolt, his two sons walked out of prison pending a separate corruption retrial with their father. The Mubarak verdict "is a message to us … that no matter how much corruption and oppression the authorities commit, they will always get away without any punishment. And that is very painful," Elaimy said. Meanwhile, dozens of activists who revolted against him are being held in prison for holding unauthorised protests. "The Egyptian judiciary has shown a double standard for justice by exonerating state officials from any guilt in committing human-rights violations on the one hand, and on the other, by issuing hefty prison terms against those who exercise their civil and political rights," said the International Federation of Human Rights group. A lower court had jailed the Mubaraks last May for embezzling millions of Egyptian pounds from state funds allocated for renovating presidential palaces. But an appeal court overturned that verdict and ordered a retrial. Most of the government crackdown has targeted Mursi's supporters and members of his Muslim Brotherhood, which posted strong electoral gains after Mubarak's ousting and until Mursi's presidential win in 2012.