Mubarak could leave prison Thursday after Egypt court orders his release
Prosecutor says no appeal will be made against decision to release deposed Egyptian president; the court had dropped two cases against Mubarak earlier this week; Mubarak to be released to house arrest.
Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak laying on a gurney inside a barred cage in the police academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, June 2, 2012. Photo by AP
Deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak could leave prison as early as Thursday after a court ruling that jolted a divided nation already in turmoil seven weeks after the army toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, but he will be released to house arrest.
Convening on Wednesday at the Cairo prison where Mubarak is held, the court upheld a petition from his lawyer demanding the release of the man who ruled Egypt for 30 years until he was overthrown during the uprisings that swept the Arab world in early 2011.
Judicial and security sources said the court had ordered Mubarak’s release. His lawyer, Fareed al-Deeb, confirmed this as he left Tora prison after the session. Asked when Mubarak would go free, he told Reuters: “Maybe tomorrow.”
The prime minister’s office said that Mubarak would be placed under house arrest. “In the context of the emergency law, the deputy military commander issued an order that Mohamed Hosni Mubarak should be put under house arrest,” read a statement from the office.
The prosecutor overseeing the case said on Wednesday that Egypt’s prosecutor will not appeal against the ruling ordering Mubarak’s release. ”The decision to release Mubarak issued today … is final and the prosecution cannot appeal against it,” Judge Ahmed el-Bahrawi said.
Mubarak, 85, was sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to prevent the killing of demonstrators. But a court accepted his appeal earlier this year and ordered a retrial.
The ailing former president probably has no political future. But many Egyptians would see his release as the rehabilitation of an old order that endured through six decades of military-backed rule – and even a reversal of the pro-democracy revolt that toppled him.
At least 900 people, including 100 soldiers and police, have been killed in a crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in the past week, making it Egypt’s bloodiest civil episode in decades.
The United States and the European Union are both reviewing aid to Cairo in light of the bloodshed, but Saudi Arabia, a foe of the Brotherhood, has promised to make up any shortfall.
Mubarak is still being retried on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolt against him, but he has already served the maximum pre-trial detention in that case.
The court ruling removed the last legal ground for his imprisonment in connection with a corruption case, following a similar decision in another corruption case on Monday.
Mubarak’s release might stir more turbulence in Egypt, where the army ousted Morsi, the country’s first freely elected leader, on July 3, saying it was responding to the will of the people following vast protests demanding his removal.
The generals have installed an interim administration to oversee a roadmap they say will lead Egypt to back to democracy.
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By Mariam Fam & Salma El Wardany – Aug 21, 2013 5:00 PM CT
Egypt’s longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak moved closer to possible freedom after a court ordered him released from prison, a move that would aggravate frictions in a nation reeling from the toppling of his elected successor.
While Mubarak is unlikely to find a place in the country’s new political order, his release would inject more tension into the violent standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government the military installed after deposing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last month. Freedom for Mubarak would also provide ammunition to those who accuse Egypt’s new leaders of seeking to restore the kind of police state Mubarak led before he was overthrown in 2011 in a popular revolt.
The military “promised the the clock wouldn’t be turned back, yet it’s 2010 all over again. Mursi is in jail and Mubarak is free,” read a posting yesterday on the Twitter account of the main alliance backing Mursi, after the court ruled.
Egypt’s cabinet said in a note to reporters that Mubarak was ordered to be held under house arrest. It was not immediately clear whether he had been released.
It was the second time this week that a court had ordered authorities to free the 85-year-old Mubarak, who has been in custody in connection with various cases since he was ousted. This time, the court said he could be freed in a case accusing him of accepting gifts from a state-run group. It was not clear whether he could be kept in custody on other charges.
The orders to free Mubarak do not stop pending trials on other charges against him, including his alleged role in the deaths of protesters in the uprising that swept him from power. He is facing a retrial in that case after a court overturned an earlier life sentence against him.
Mubarak’s ouster had fed hopes in some quarters that Egypt would emerge from his three decades of autocratic a more prosperous and democratic nation. During Mursi’s year in office, divisions widened as the country slipped deeper into poverty, with critics accusing him of cementing the power of his Brotherhood backers at the expense of the nation’s welfare.
Days of mass demonstrations against him, reminiscent of the protests against Mubarak, culminated in Mursi’s removal. His Brotherhood supporters have refused to accept that, and the nation has been mired since in a whorl of violence that claimed about 1,000 lives in the past week alone.
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By Mariam Fam & Tarek El-Tablawy – Aug 20, 2013 5:48 PM CT
The spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was arrested in Cairo as the military-backed government pressed a crackdown on Islamists that has claimed hundreds of lives in the past week.
Mohammed Badie, who faces charges of inciting murder, was taken into custody yesterday in a Cairo apartment where he had been instructing supporters protesting President Mohamed Mursi’s July 3 removal by the military, Public Security Department official Yasser Abdel-Rauf said. About 900 civilians and 100 police officers have died since the operation to break up two pro-Mursi sit-ins began last week.
Mursi’s ouster has sparked almost-daily protests by his backers that frequently boiled over into deadly clashes. The tumult has made it more difficult for Egypt to emerge from the slowdown that has battered the economy since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Badie faces a trial later this month in connection with deaths of protesters when Mursi was still in power.
Badie’s arrest “is another blow to the Brotherhood that is designed to weaken them, but definitely it will stir up a response from the Brotherhood,” Ziad Akl, senior researcher at the Cairo-based Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said by phone.
Badie has been detained for 15 days pending an investigation, according to a statement from prosecutors.
The Brotherhood vowed in an e-mailed statement that “the arrest of the Supreme Guide won’t weaken the Brotherhood.” The group and its supporters in the National Coalition for Legitimacy called in a statement for a continuation and expansion of daily protests.
El Beblawi’s Comments
Interim Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi said that he doesn’t expect the conflict to lead to a civil war.
“I do not exclude that we will have some continuous problems in the coming weeks, perhaps coming months,” El Beblawai said in an interview with ABC News. “But civil war and the type we have seen in some neighbors, I don’t think that Egypt is on this path.”
The yield on Egypt’s 5.75 percent dollar bond due April 2020 rose 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage point, to 9.42 percent yesterday in Cairo, the highest on a closing basis since July 3, the day the army forced Mursi out of office, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The EGX 30 index of stocks rose 1.1 percent, snapping a three-day decline.
After announcing Mursi’s ouster on July 3, Defense Minister Abdelfatah al-Seesi said the constitution endorsed under the Islamist’s administration would be amended. Yesterday, the presidency announced in an e-mailed statement that the first phase of that project had been completed.
A technical committee has submitted proposals including a mixed presidential and parliamentary system, the state-run Ahram website reported. A second committee must approve any proposals within 60 days of receiving the draft, according to the interim government’s blueprint for transition to elected rule.
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