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Former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak may be freed from jail soon

August 19, 2013|By Jeffrey Fleishman

CAIRO -- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is on trial for murder-related charges in the deaths of hundreds of protesters in 2011, may be released from prison this week after a judge set aside a corruption case against him.

“He’ll be out in a couple of days,” said Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid Deeb.

The 85-year-old former leader remains in custody in connection with another graft case but is expected to be cleared of those charges after his family reportedly paid restitution.

PHOTOS: Hosni Mubarak over the years

Reuters news service quoted a judicial source as saying Mubarak “would spend another two weeks behind bars before judicial authorities made a final decision in the outstanding case against him.” There is also the possibility that prosecutors could file new charges against the former president.

Mubarak’s release would essentially mean he would be free on bail while he stands trial for the deaths of more than 800 protesters who were killed by security forces and paid thugs during the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule.

His release would likely incite fresh unrest at a time the military-installed government is cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood following the coup last month that brought down Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Security forces have killed more than 800 Brotherhood supporters and anti-military demonstrators since Wednesday.

PHOTOS: Turmoil in Egypt

Since his arrest two years ago, Mubarak has loomed over the public consciousness even as the country’s political and economic turmoil has deepened. His possible release from Tora prison would signal for many that the remnants of the old guard are back in power and that the revolution that promised a new democracy has been sidetracked by the army.

But millions of Egyptians are now rallying around the military in its campaign against the Brotherhood. Although Mubarak remains a disgrace in the eyes of many, his loyalists, including those in the police and army, have been emboldened by a new wave of nationalism.

The news around Mubarak came as Islamist militants killed at least 24 police officers in an ambush in the Sinai Peninsula. That attack occurred less than a day after Egyptian authorities announced that police killed 36 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who purportedly were attempting to escape while being transported to prison.


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