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Egyptian Court Orders Mubarak's Release

Egyptian Court Orders Mubarak's Release

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Published by: Thavam on Aug 21, 2013
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08/21/2013

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By Maggie Fick and Shadia Nasralla
CAIRO
| Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:50am EDT(Reuters) - Deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak will leave jail as early asThursday after a court ruling that jolted a divided nation already in turmoil sevenweeks after the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.Convening on Wednesday at the Cairo jail where Mubarak is held, the court orderedthe release of the military man who ruled Egypt for 30 years until he was overthrownduring the uprisings that swept the Arab world in early 2011. Asked when his client would go free, Mubarak's lawyer, Fareed al-Deeb, told Reuters:"Maybe tomorrow".Mubarak, 85, was sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to prevent the killing of demonstrators. But a court accepted his appeal earlier this year and ordered a retrial.The ailing ex-president probably has no political future, but the court ruling, whichstate prosecutor Ahmed el-Bahrawi said cannot be appealed, made some Egyptians
 
indignant."The army has brought back Mubarak's regime, the same regime," said Guma Abdel Alim, outside a bicycle shop in central Cairo. "Those who were elected by the peopleare now in prison."He was referring to a widescale security sweep on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood thathas netted many of its leaders.Shopworker Rubi Abdel Azim said Mubarak had been the worst ruler in Egypt's history,but a passerby in a worn-out shirt disagreed. "He was the greatest president," saidNagi Hassan.Political turbulence has kept Egypt on edge for months. At least 900 people, including100 soldiers and police, have been killed in a crackdown on Mursi supporters in thepast week, making it the country's bloodiest internal episode in decades."LOUSY REGIME"The United States and the European Union are both reviewing aid to Cairo in light of the bloodshed, butSaudi Arabia, a foe of the Brotherhood, has promised to make upany shortfall.There was no immediate reaction to the ruling on Mubarak from the Brotherhood,whose leaders are mostly behind bars.Mubarak is still being retried on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters duringthe revolt against him, but he has already served the maximum pre-trial detention inthat case.The court ruling removed the last legal ground for his imprisonment in connection witha corruption case, following a similar decision in another corruption case on Monday.Mubarak will not be allowed to leave Egypt and his assets remain frozen.Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, along with former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly,
 
are still in prison, and Adly's lawyer said the ruling on Mubarak had no bearing on their cases.Some of the liberal and secular politicians who backed the army's ousting of Mursi,Egypt's first freely elected president, on July 3, said they regretted the hatedMubarak's release, but argued that the judiciary's decision should be respected."His regime was lousy and he destroyed the country," said Mohamed Abolghar, headof the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, to which the army-appointed interim primeminister belongs.Noting Mubarak's age and the jail time he has served, he said: "We should focus onbuilding the country, establishing democracy and finishing the problem of the MuslimBrotherhood."The government knows that if Mubarak is freed there will be public outrage, but acourt decision is a court decision."Khaled Dawoud, spokesman of the liberal Dostour Party, said the trials of the ex-president and his associates had all been flawed because the judiciary was ill-equipped to deal with cases related to Mubarak's rule, resulting in a series of acquittals. "It was a faulty process from the beginning," he said.The relatively muted response from Mubarak's non-Islamist opponents may reflect areluctance to rock the boat following the army's removal of Mursi, which they hadendorsed.The generals say they were responding to the will of the people after vastdemonstrations organized by liberals and leftists demanding Mursi's ouster. They haveinstalled an interim administration to oversee a roadmap back to democracy."TARNISHED IMAGE"The authorities now portray their quarrel with the Brotherhood, Egypt's best-organized

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