Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison in a development that may inflame tensions as the nation grapples with violence following the deposing of his Islamist successor.
Mubarak, 85, was taken from Cairo’s Torah prison by helicopter to a nearby military hospital, a day after a court ordered his release in relation to a case involving accepting gifts from a state-run organization.
The move marks a staggering development for many Egyptians as his critics and those who took part in the 2011 uprising against him had demanded he be brought to justice for abuses and corruption they say he committed during his 29-year tenure. While Mubarak is unlikely to find a place in Egypt’s new political order, his release may inject more tension into the violent standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government the military installed after deposing Mohamed Mursi.
Footage aired on the private al-Hayat satellite channel showed a helicopter landing near the military hospital and a gurney wheeled alongside it. Mubarak had spent time in the same facility previously, amid reports of his ailing health.
The Brotherhood, facing a government crackdown since Mursi’s ouster in July, has argued the new military-backed government is little more than an extension of Mubarak’s police state. The group also says so-called “remnants” of the old regime played a pivotal role in deposing Mursi, the country’s first freely-elected civilian president.
“Mubarak is flown out of Torah and reports of being transported to military hospital in Maadi. Mubarak is free, while free men are imprisoned,” read a posting today on the Twitter account of the main alliance backing Mursi.
The cases against Mubarak, including a retrial for his alleged role in the death of protesters in 2011, will continue. He’s also standing trial for at least two other corruption cases.
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