26 August 2013
A military helicopter transported Hosni Mubarak to Cairo's Maadi military hospital, where he is to stay under house arrest. Egypt's ex-president was released after on Wednesday the Cairo court ruled to clear him of all corruption charges. Today the Prosecution confirmed that it would not contest the court's decision, which removed the last obstacles to transferring Mubarak from prison to house arrest.
The ex-president's supporters are now celebrating in the streets and handing out sweets to people walking by. However, a lot more people are unhappy with the court's decision. The Tamarod movement, which played a key role in the ousting of Mubarak's successor Mohammed Morsi, has already announced its intent to organize protests against this decision.
Meanwhile, from a legal standpoint there can be no claims against the court, says Amir Salem, a Cairo lawyer:
− The episode that the court reviewed was called “the case of the presidential palaces” - and that case was closed down. The decision to release Mubarak is purely judicial in nature and is no way related to politics. It is not related to the Egyptian army, or with the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, or with the new regime. It is exclusively related to the fact that the term of imprisonment has reached the limit of possible extension on these counts. Naturally, the politicians will use this release in order to start all possible political games. But that does in no way change the fact that Mubarak's release was not a political decision.
I personally in my political convictions am strongly opposed to Mubarak, but I find it improper to state that he had any agreements with the new authorities and thus was released. In court hearings I myself defend those rights that all the accused have by law according to the Criminal Code. Every lawyer does that and politics are not involved.
Abdarrahim Ali, the head of the Arab Research Center in Cairo, views the situation differently:
− Mubarak will be placed under house arrest until the court process is finished. It looks like by that time we will already have a newly elected president, while Mubarak will be an ordinary citizen, and the acute focus on this case will disappear. But in general we observe that in fact this is a real exculpation of that period. And the issue is not with the current temporary Egyptian authorities. Practically all of the prominent politicians of Mubarak's regime were released from prison under Morsi's rule. That is why we cannot say that we got rid of the old regime: everybody who was ousted in 2011 has been cleared of all charges and released.
The ex-president still has to attend court hearings. The court hearing regarding his alleged involvement in the shootings of protesters in January 2011 is still ahead. The hearings will resume on August 25.