The Cairo Criminal Court on Monday reportedly ordered the release of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] in a long-pending corruption case. His lawyer said that he could be released within days [WP report], which would the first time he was free in more than two years. It is unclear how Mubarak's release will affect a divided Egypt, which has been subject to a state of emergency for the last week amid violent clashes [JURIST report] and increased killings.
Mubarak and members of his former government have been the subject of controversial judicial proceedings since the start of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] in 2011. In February an Egyptian court ordered the release [JURIST report] of Mubarak's former chief of staff. In January an Egyptian appeals judge overturned Mubarak's conviction [JURIST report] and life sentence and ordered a retrial for the former president on the charge of failure to prevent the killing of more than 800 protesters in 2012. Also in January former culture minister Farouq Hosni was acquitted of charges [JURIST report] of corruption and illegal enrichment. Last August the former secretary for the Mubarak's political party, Safwat El-Sherif, was referred to a criminal court [JURIST report] for abusing his office by obtaining real estates at discounted prices and illegally obtaining $49.2 million. In July an Egyptian court rejected pleas to release [JURIST report] Mubarak's two sons while they await trial, although their lawyer argued they were detained unlawfully for longer than permissible under Egyptian law. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others, were charged [JURIST report] with stock market fraud, using unfair trading practices and illegally manipulating the market.