22 Aug 2013

Mubarak about to be released in Egypt

5:45 am on 22 August 2013

A court in Egypt has ordered the conditional release on bail of former President Hosni Mubarak in a corruption case.

He may be freed from prison on Thursday and state prosecutors say there can be no appeal.

Mr Mubarak, 85, still faces charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him from power in 2011.

He was sentenced to life in prison last year, but a retrial was later ordered after an appeal was upheld.

That retrial opened in May, but the BBC reports Mr Mubarak has now served the maximum amount of pre-trial detention permitted in the case.

On Wednesday, the court in Cairo ordered the release of Mr Mubarak. The ruling came during a hearing on charges that the former president had accepted gifts from al-Ahram, a state-run publisher.

Egypt is under a state of emergency amid the bloodshed since the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July, four days after the first anniversary of his election.

Hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained including its leader Mohammed Badie, who was arrested early on Tuesday.

Analysts say Mr Mubarak's release would be seen by many as a sign the military is rolling back the changes that flowed from the 2011 uprising.

The BBC reports European Union foreign ministers on Wednesday in Brussels agreed to stop export licences on military equipment to Egypt and to reassess security co-operation.

Senior administration officials in Washington discussed on Tuesday whether to reduce the $US1.3 billion in military aid that the United States gives Egypt every year. The meeting reportedly produced no imminent changes to US policy.