Hosni Mubarak freed from Egyptian prison
Former president transferred to military hospital but will remain under house arrest
Egyptian army soldiers and medics escort former president Hosni Mubarak after he arrives at a military hospital in the southern suburb of Maadi on the outskirts of Cairo today. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters
A supporter of former president Hosni Mubarak holds his poster to celebrate his release in front of the main gate of Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo. Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters
Egyptian soldiers guard on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in front of the main gate of Tora prison, where deposed leader Hosni Mubarak was detained. Photograph: Louafi Larbi/Reuters
Protesters walk past graffiti of former president Hosni Mubarak, right, and Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council, near Tahrir Square in Cairo. Photograph: Ed Ou/The New York Times
Deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak has been released from prison. He was taken by helicopter from Cairo’s Tora prison to the armed forces’ International Medical Centre, a hospital northeast of Cairo, where he will remain under armed guard.
The state prosecutor gave written orders to the authorities at Tora prison, on the capital’s southern outskirts, to release Mubarak (85) an official in the prosecutor’s office said earlier.
The prime minister’s office earlier said Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years until he was overthrown in 2011 as uprisings swept the Arab world, will be placed under house arrest.
That decision was made under a month-long state of emergency declared last week when police stormed protest camps set up in Cairo by the Brotherhood to demand Mr Morsi’s reinstatement.
About 900 people, including some 100 soldiers and police, have been killed in violence across Egypt since then, making it the bloodiest bout of internal strife in the republic’s history.
In the latest violence, gunmen in a car killed an army major and a soldier on a patrol near the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, security sources said today. Two soldiers were wounded. The assailants escaped.
Life in prison
Mubarak 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 in the case, for which he has already served the maximum amount of pretrial detention. Mubarak was arrested in April, 2011.
This week, two court rulings in separate corruption cases removed the last legal grounds for his continued detention.
Mubarak is still being retried on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolt against him, but he has already served the maximum pretrial detention in that case.
The ailing former air force commander will not be allowed to leave Egypt and his assets remain frozen.
Mubarak’s release would play to the Brotherhood’s argument that the military is trying to rehabilitate the old order. The army-installed government casts its conflict with the Islamist movement as a life-or-death struggle against terrorism.
“This is the end. Mubarak will never be an important political player, but symbolically, it’s a victory dance by the reconstituted old state under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” said Joshua Stacher, a political scientist and an Egypt expert at Kent State University in the United States.
He was referring to the military council that took over from Mubarak and ruled until Mursi became president last year.