Egyptian court orders Mubarak’s release

By IndepthAfrica
In Egypt
Aug 21st, 2013
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Repercussions: The former leader, who held power for nearly 30 years, has not been seen since he was deposed in February

Repercussions: The former leader, who held power for nearly 30 years, has not been seen since he was deposed in February

Officials say an Egyptian court has ordered the release of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, following a hearing on charges against him of accepting gifts from a state-owned newspaper, the last case that has kept the ailing leader in detention.

Egypt’s prosecutor will not appeal against a court ruling ordering the release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from jail, the prosecutor overseeing the case said on Wednesday.

“The decision to release Mubarak issued today … is final and the prosecution cannot appeal against it,” Judge Ahmed el-Bahrawi said.

The possibility of Mubarak going free is likely to fuel the unrest already roiling the country after the autocratic leader’s successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, was removed in a military coup last month.

Top prison official Mostafa Baz told Egypt’s private CBC TV station that his offices will ask the prosecutors Thursday if Mubarak is wanted in other cases. If not, he would be set free.

The hearing was held in Tora prison, where Mubarak, 85, has been held for most of his detention since April 2011. Officials cited security concerns as the reason for holding it in the sprawling, tightly secured facility.

Mubarak is now on trial for the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising against him and other charges.

He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of some 900 protesters in Egypt’s 2011 uprising. His sentence was overturned on appeal and he is now being retried, along with his security chief and six top police commanders. His trial resumes later this month.

He is facing a number of other corruption charges, but no other trial dates have been set.

The court officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Rights lawyer and judicial expert Nasser Amin said procedurally Mubarak should have been released since his sentence was overturned, but that the political circumstances may delay letting him go.

“His release will cause chaos,” he said. “It will be used by Islamists as proof of the return of the old regime.”

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