Egypt’s Mubarak to leave jail for house arrest

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Egypt’s Mubarak to leave jail for house arrest

Egypt’s toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak is expected to leave jail on Thursday after a court ordered him released pending trial, but he will immediately be placed under house arrest.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 22 Aug 2013, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:29 PM

It was unclear when Mubarak might leave Cairo’s Tora prison, or where he would be taken, with sources telling state media that two military hospitals where he has been treated in the past were possible candidates.

The court order for Mubarak’s conditional release came on Wednesday, but was quickly followed by a government announcement that he would be placed under house arrest if released.

Interim prime minister Hazem El Beblawi, in his capacity as deputy military ruler under Egypt’s current state of emergency, ordered Mubarak held, the cabinet said.

“In the framework of the emergency law, the deputy military ruler ordered Mubarak to be placed under house arrest,” a statement said.

Mubarak still faces trial on charges including corruption and complicity in the deaths of some of the 850 people who died in the 2011 uprising against him.

His next court session is on Sunday, though he has not always attended hearings in the cases against him in the past.

State news agency MENA said Mubarak’s file would be sent to the prosecutor general on Thursday morning for confirmation that there was no basis for his continued pre-trial detention.

If the prosecutor confirms that, and no new charges are filed, the ex-president will then be flown by military helicopter to house arrest, MENA said.

Beblawi will have the final word on where Mubarak will be held, the agency said.

The decision to grant Mubarak pre-trial release added a volatile new element to the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the army ousted president Mohammed Mursi on July 3 following massive protests against him.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the past week in violence following the forcible break-up of two pro-Mursi camps in the capital.

Authorities have arrested dozens of members of Mursi’s Brotherhood, including its supreme guide Mohammed Badie — the first time the group’s chief has been arrested since 1981.

Mursi himself is being held at a secret location and faces charges related to his 2011 escape from prison and inciting the death and torture of protesters.

Badie and several other Brotherhood leaders are also accused of inciting the deaths of protesters, and are also expected in court Sunday.

Overnight, arrests of Brotherhood leaders continued with authorities detaining Ahmed Aref, a spokesman for the group, in Cairo.

Despite the pressure, a Brotherhood-led coalition has defiantly called for mass rallies on Friday, in a test of its remaining strength as members are arrested.

Egypt has experienced unprecedented political bloodletting since August 14, when security forces stormed two pro-Morsi protest camps in the capital.

The crackdown and resulting violence across the country killed nearly 600 people in a single day in Egypt’s recent history.

The unrest has prompted international criticism, and EU foreign ministers agreed at an emergency meeting on Wednesday to suspend the sale of arms and security equipment to Cairo in response to the mounting violence.

However, they opted to maintain economic assistance.

They issued a statement calling recent operations by Egyptian security forces “disproportionate”, while also condemning “acts of terrorism” in the Sinai and attacks on churches blamed on the Brotherhood.

But they expressed concern over the economic situation and said “assistance in the socio-economic sector and to civil society will continue.”

Washington has also criticised the violence, as well as Badie’s arrest, and announced the cancellation of joint military exercises.

But it has stopped short of halting its $1.3 billion annual defence aid package to Egypt, and denied reports it was withholding aid.

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