An Egyptian court has ordered that former President Hosni Mubarak be released from custody while he awaits a retrial on charges related to the killing of protesters during the 2011 protests that led to the toppling of his government, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo.
Peter adds that even though that case and others related to corruption charges are still active, Mubarak's release would "likely spark anxiety that the military-backed government now in charge is returning Egypt to the authoritarian state it was in before the Arab Spring."
Prosecutors, Peter also reports, have said they won't appeal the court's order. According to Reuters, the judge said prosecutors couldn't challenge the ruling even if they wished: "The decision to release Mubarak issued today ... is final and the prosecution cannot appeal against it," Judge Ahmed el-Bahrawi said.
The BBC adds that reports from Cairo suggest Mubarak may be released as soon as Thursday.
Mubarak, 85, was convicted last year and sentenced to life in prison for not stopping the killing of protesters in 2011. But the court has now said he should not be kept in custody while appealing that verdict.
— "Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president overthrown in an uprising in 2011, will be released from jail soon after a prosecutor cleared him in a corruption case, his lawyer and a judicial source said on Monday." (Reuters)
— "Egyptian judiciary officials say former President Hosni Mubarak could be freed from custody this week. They say a court on Monday ordered his release in a corruption case that alleged he and his two sons embezzled funds for presidential palaces." (The Associated Press)
NPR Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel notes that the 85-year-old former president is still being charged in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 demonstrations that led to the toppling of his regime. He also still faces corruption charges. So even if he is released, he's still set to be tried.
Reuters reminds readers that "Mubarak, along with his interior minister, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of protesters in the revolt that swept him from power. He still faces a retrial in that case after appeals from the prosecution and defense, but this would not necessarily require him to stay in jail."
Meanwhile, Egypt's first democratically elected president — Mohammed Morsi — remains out of sight. He was ousted by the military last month and has been held since then. He's being investigated for alleged conspiracy and murder.
Since last Wednesday, when government forces moved to clear Morsi's supporters from sites where they had been protesting his removal from office, more than 900 Egyptians have died and thousands more have been wounded in clashes.
From WILL - News Headlines - February 11, 2011 4:44 PM
A University of Illinois professor who formerly lived in Egypt says the sudden departure of Hosni Mubarak will now mean patience on the part of people there to see what kind of government develops.
Sociology and Middle East studies professor Asef Bayat said this quick transition of Mubarak handing power to the military didn't allow for another power to shadow the president, or form some type of alternative governing body.
"One has to really wait and see how the negotiations will start, and whether or not the army would be willing to really move the country into a democracy after a transitional period, and step back and remain as a kind of neutral body," Bayat said.
Bayat said there has been a large expectation of a 'honeymoon' with Mubarak's resignation. But he said in recent weeks, there has been a realization among Egypt's people that Mubarak's departure alone isn't enough. Bayat said he is now seeing a lot of banners calling for the entire regime to step down.
"While the slogans by and large focused on his (Mubarak's) departure, now I have seen a lot of banners and slogans basically saying that the regime should go, and that's a big, big difference from the past," he said.
Bayet said Egypt should look beyond any operators of power who revolved around Mubarek and his type of parliament. He also said there's a lack of coordination between different organs of power, and that was evident when the chief of the Egyptian army showed support for Mubarak following the Thursday address, just before he would announce he was stepping down.