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Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ordered released by court

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak has been ordered released by an Egyptian court. The order may further incite anger in this African nation that is already roiling from unprecedented political violence.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Cairo judge said there were no legal grounds to hold the 85-year-old leader - called by some as a "benevolent dictator," under allegations of corruption related to gifts he had received from a state publishing house while in office.

Under Egyptian law, prosecutors have 48 hours to challenge the judge's decision. It's not yet known whether prosecutors would file a challenge.

The decision comes as opponents of Egypt's new interim government continue their lengthy nationwide protests, against the army's ouster of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.

More than 1,000 people have already died in internecine political violence over the past six weeks, which is by far the deadliest episode of political change in Egypt's modern history. Mubarak's release has the potential to further inflame an already volatile situation, as Mubarak's release will act as a symbol of a resurgent old order.

The court's decision seemingly rescinds the changes wrought by the "Arab spring" in Egypt. Morsi, an Islamist and stalwart opponent of Mubarak, is currently in jail. As evidence of this, Mubarak's draconian emergency law that Morsi's supporters rolled back was renewed last week and the country's military is once again managing the affairs of state from behind the scenes.

Mubarak is currently preparing to leave prison. Egypt's interim government in the meantime is continuing to round up leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood that Mubarak long suppressed. Police detained the once-powerful organization's leader, Mohammed Badie earlier this week.

Mubarak still faces a retrial on capital charges of murdering protesters during the early 2011 uprising that ousted him. The court determined that Mubarak was eligible for release because his custody period exceeds the allowable period under Egyptian law.

Mubarak was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in June last year for his failure to stop the killing of some 900 protesters in the 18-day uprising against his rule. His sentence was overturned on appeal and he is now being retried, along with his security chief and six top police commanders.

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