Mubarak to be freed from jail: lawyer
By Alistair Lyon and Asma Alsharif ,ReutersCAIRO -- Egypt's disgraced former President Hosni Mubarak will be released from jail soon, after prosecutors cleared him in a corruption case, his lawyer said on Monday, dropping a new bombshell on a nation in turmoil.
August 20, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The most populous Arab country is already enduring the bloodiest internal conflict in its modern history as the army, which deposed President Mohammed Morsi on July 3 after huge protests against him, cracks down on his Muslim Brotherhood.
Mubarak, 85, was arrested after a popular uprising overthrew him on Feb. 11, 2011 as unrest spread across the Arab world.
In scenes that mesmerized Arabs, the ex-strongman appeared in a court-room cage during his trial on charges that ranged from corruption to complicity in the murder of protesters.
More than a year on, the only legal grounds for Mubarak's continued detention rest on another corruption case which his lawyer, Fareed el-Deeb, said would be settled swiftly.
“All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week,” Deeb told Reuters.
Without confirming that Mubarak would be freed, a judicial source said the former leader would spend another two weeks behind bars before judicial authorities made a final decision in the outstanding case against him.
Mubarak, along with his interior minister, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of protesters in the revolt that swept him from power.
He still faces a retrial in that case after appeals from the prosecution and defense, but this would not necessarily require him to stay in jail. Mubarak did not appear at a hearing in the case on Saturday. He was also absent from Monday's proceedings.
He is being held at Tora prison on the southern outskirts of Cairo, the same facility where senior Brotherhood members have been detained in a clampdown that followed Morsi's ouster.
Mubarak's eventual release could stir more political tension in Egypt, where at least 850 people, including 70 policemen and soldiers, have been killed since the army-backed government forcibly dispersed Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo on Wednesday.
Deadly Sinai Attack
In separate violence, suspected Islamist militants killed at least 24 policemen on Monday in the Sinai Peninsula, where attacks on security forces have multiplied since Morsi's ouster.
Three policemen were also wounded in the grenade and machinegun attack near the north Sinai town of Rafah on the border with Israel, medical and security sources said.