File picture shows Egypt’s ousted President Mubarak sitting inside a dock at the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo
CAIRO: Egypt’s former leader Hosni Mubarak could soon be freed from jail, giving a new jolt to a nation in turmoil, after a court ruled yesterday that he could no longer be held in custody on a corruption charge.
His lawyer said Mubarak could be bailed within days.
At 85, Mubarak may have no political future but his release could stir emotions and raise new questions on whether the popular uprising that ended his 30-year rule in February 2011 is leading back to a new form of military-backed government.
After the court ruling, the only legal grounds for Mubarak’s continued detention rest on a second 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 said. “He should be freed by the end of the week.”
Held in April 2011 as talk of democracy swept from Tunis and Cairo across the Arab world, Mubarak appeared in a courtroom cage at a trial in which he was convicted of complicity in the murder of protesters. But in January, the highest court ordered a retrial which continues.
The US, a major provider of military and other aid to Egypt, warned against banning the Muslim Brotherhood and questioned an official account of how 37 Islamist prisoners died on Sunday. Meanwhile, 25 policemen were killed by suspected Islamists in Sinai near the border with Israel. State TV showed the coffins, draped in Egyptian flags, arrive by plane in Cairo. Reuters