Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian dictator who was overthrown in February 2011, may be released from prison within the next few hours, reports Abigail Hauslohner for the Washington Post.
Mubarak has been held on a number of charges related to corruption and the killing of protesters, but courts have now ordered his release on four different sets of charges, leaving no legal grounds for his continued detention. Mubarak has not been cleared of all charges, and was sentenced to life in prison for failing to prevent the deaths of 800 protesters, but the court has ruled that he should be released until retrial proceedings begin.
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Hosni Mubarak became president after the assassination of Anwar Sadat
The prosecution has the right to appeal this decision, but has apparently chosen not to do so, a move that will certainly be interpreted by many as support for the former president. Although there is still a good deal of conflicting information, it appears that Mubarak could be free from Tora Prison as early as later today, or in the next few days.
Mubarak became president after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, ruling the country for nearly thirty years until massive protests from the January 25 movement caused the army to ultimately force him out of office. Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first elected president in 2012, but the military removed him from office this July in response to another wave of protests reminiscent of those in 2011. Morsi was replaced by acting President Adly Mansour, though most people consider General Abdel El-Sisi to actually be in control of the country.
Hosni Mubarak’s release would cast doubt on the impact of the entire revolution
Egypt has seen increasing levels of political violence since Morsi’s ouster, and the release of Mubarak will likely exacerbate those tensions. The Muslim Brotherhood often organizes protests for Friday afternoons because many people have already organized at mosques at this time (the Egyptian weekend is Friday/Saturday instead of Saturday/Sunday), and there are already concerns that this coming Friday could see more bloodshed.
Violence aside, Mubarak’s release would cast doubt on the impact of the entire revolution. As independent journalist Sharif Kouddous tweeted, “Mubarak out, Morsi in jail, Baradei in Vienna. Hello 2010.”