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Hosni Mubarak to be released, put under house arrest

Egypt,Immigration/Law/Rights,Politics, Thu, 22 Aug 2013 IANS

Cairo, Aug 22 (IANS) An Egyptian court has ordered the release of ex-president Hosni Mubarak after his petition on his last corruption case was accepted.

After his release, Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades, will be put under house arrest, Xinhua reported.

Mubarak will be freed in the case of Ahram Institution, in which he was charged along with his two sons, for misusing power and accepting gifts from governmental institutions via his information minister.

For Mubarak's age and after he paid $2.61 million - the value of the gifts - "there is no justification for keeping Mubarak in jail", the court said.

But Mubarak is still banned from travelling abroad as he faces a retrial on charges of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 unrest that eventually toppled him. The next hearing is slated for Saturday.

Mubarak's lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, said the former president would be freed Thursday.

"Mubarak will be freed unless he is charged with other crimes," legal expert Aly Mashallah said.

Mashallah also added that the prosecution is the sole authority to determine his final release.

Mostafa Baz, assistant interior minister for prison affairs, said Mubarak could not be released from prison Wednesday as government offices had already closed.

The official Egyptian news agency MENA reported that "in light of the state of emergency, the deputy military ruler (Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi) ordered to place Mubarak under house arrest".

A month-long state of emergency was imposed in Egypt due to the deadly clashes after the security forces dispersed two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza.

The ensuing confrontations between Morsi's loyalists and security personnel have killed some 1,000 people around the country, including some 100 policemen.

While Mubarak may leave Tora prison soon, leading Muslim Brotherhood members are detained in the same prison complex.

Egyptian authorities Wednesday arrested hardliner Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazi and Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Morad Mohamed Ali, while they were trying to flee to Libya and Rome, respectively.

Two days ago, the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader Mohamed Badie was arrested, and was Tuesday ordered to be kept in custody for 15 days on charges of killing protesters.

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