Egypt’s Revolution Comes Full Circle: Court Orders Mubarak’s Release

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KHALED ELFIQI / EPA

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is seen on a stretcher looking on from behind the bars of a cage inside the court room during his trial at the Police Academy in Cairo, in this April 13 2013 file photo.

An Egyptian court ordered deposed President Hosni Mubarak released from prison on Wednesday, further deepening the sense of crisis one week after the country’s military-backed interim government carried out what human rights advocates say was the worst single episode of extrajudicial killing in the country’s modern history.

Leaving Cairo’s Tora Prison, where Mubarak was held and the court also convened, Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid Al-Deeb, told Reuters news agency that his client could go free as soon as Thursday. State prosecutor Ahmed el-Bahrawi told the agency Mubarak’s corruption case could not be appealed.

At one time, Mubarak’s release would have triggered massive protests from the revolutionary forces that ended his 30-year rule during the winter 2011 uprising. A June 2012 ruling in a separate court case over the killing of demonstrators in 2011 set off days of protests in Cairo and other cities after the court convicted Mubarak, but failed to convict senior security officials blamed for a deadly crackdown on demonstrators.

But today, Egypt’s politics operates in a different paradigm after the military removed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from power on July 3 following another popular uprising on June 30. The military-backed interim government that replaced Morsi enjoys the support of many secular nationalists as it carries out a full-scale crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups. A week ago, government forces moved in to crush protest camps set up by those calling for Morsi’s reinstatement, which led to the deaths of hundreds. The government blames Islamists for the current crisis and says it is carrying out a campaign against “terrorism.”

It was too soon to tell if the ruling in the Mubarak case would fracture the military’s non-Islamist coalition. To date, a few prominent liberal figures have expressed disquiet with the military’s handling of the current crisis. Nobel laureate and former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned from the Egyptian cabinet in protest over last week’s killings, has reportedly returned to Austria, and is now being sued in court for “betrayal of trust” over his resignation.

“The liberals over the past year, you know they were supporting the judiciary as a critic of Morsi,” says Yousef Auf, an Egyptian judge and a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “They cannot criticize this ruling.”

However, the court’s decision did upset some of the young activists who organized the June 30 protests that enabled the military’s seizure of power. A man who answered the phone at the offices of Tamarod (Rebellion), the group that spearheaded the June uprising, identifying himself as Ahmed Abdo, 24, said his group rejected Wednesday’s ruling.

“We refuse the release of Mubarak and the old regime because they are criminals,” he says. “He is like Morsi, a criminal.”

Asked whether his group would mobilize protests against Mubarak’s release, Abdo says, “Not yet.” However, the group would join protests if other opposition forces organized them. He added that the group sees itself as inheriting the spirit of the 2011 revolution, not opposing it. The military, which played a role in bumping Mubarak from power, also casts itself as the guardian of the revolution. But in the wake of the July 3 coup, revolutionary legitimacy may no longer have the same cachet in Egyptian politics that it had in the previous two years.

“The Egyptian people do not care much about Mubarak,” says Auf. “There is a state of emergency and there is a curfew in the streets, and this for many people is more important than Mubarak.”

Wednesday’s ruling does not represent the end of Mubarak’s legal problems. He also faces trial in a separate, ongoing case over the killing of more than 800 demonstrators during the 2011 uprising against him. The ruling was in a corruption case alleging he accepted $4.6 million gifts from Al-Ahram, the state-owned newspaper. Even if he is released, Mubarak will remain under a travel ban and will be unable to leave the country. Some speculated that if freed he would travel to his family’s villa in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheikh.

If and when he goes free, Mubarak himself will have no future role in official politics. His release from prison, however, would be seen by many Egyptians as another sign that the achievements of the 2011 uprising were being scaled back.

129 comments
ASobhy Mohamed AbdElbaky
ASobhy Mohamed AbdElbaky

Massage from Egypt: Don't support the Egyptian military coup ... We are the Egyptian people. Sisi bloody coup leader in Egypt threatens will massacres committed against peaceful demonstrators rescued civilians from the brutality of the military coup It's a coup not a popular revolution ... We are the Egyptian people reject the coup, pass the message to everyone in all corners of the world support the Egyptian people, Dr. Morsi is the legitimate president of Egypt and the Egyptian people are in the streets to support democracy, the legimacy their president Dr. Morsi there are millions in the streets to defend their rights and their votes, their elections and especially against the coup Criminal Sissi.

Mahmoud L. Soliman
Mahmoud L. Soliman

If you want endless entertainment and suspense, follow the news from Egypt! People there cannot get bored!

Lolly
Lolly

He was not an angel,ok. But he was a president. Not like the idiot and his terrorist brothers that the USA forced on us and other Arab victim countries. Bribing baradei with the PRIZE to use him and the traitor group of 6 April to ferment the farce of the Arab spring - simply to divide north Africa and the middle east and occupy it economically. Morsy the puppet selling Egypt with Islamic contracts. May the MB burn in hell with it's greedy allies. God bless Our army our police and our Egypt

Tyrannous Sacer
Tyrannous Sacer

These acts exhibit more than the will of those with no respect for the human condition. People are in no way supposed to be treated as such, especially those who do not fight. Just remember who will have to answer for this in the future !?

Aryan Khan
Aryan Khan

what was the whole struggle about?

Mohamed Kamel
Mohamed Kamel

I do not know what to say, but in Egypt does not have a fair judiciary

Salt Z Ice
Salt Z Ice

Sisi never search 4 authority but one day he looks every where then he realised that no one still have the ability 2 stand up against Brotherhoods, people of Egypt love peace hate blood , they surrendered 2 brotherhoods with all depressed but General SISI refused 2 see Egyptians depressed he say any one of Egyptians people wanna 2 stand against Brotherhoods i'll be with him, hhhhhhhhh did u know army, police people also sand of Egypt all says in one time we all hate terrorist we all hate brotherhoods cheating then it becomes revolution , i'm as Egyption i don't care what all world say, look people over the world Egyptians make a revolution on 30.06.2013 & they will save it , no power all over the world can touch SISI or any Egyption , Egypt was & always 'll be the great, Egypt have 90 millions Sisi but only one blind world u can see ;)

Salt Z Ice
Salt Z Ice

SISI is one of our brothers not one of brotherhoods

Jens Schönig
Jens Schönig

La vache qui rit retourne... It's only custody so far. He will be facing his trials anyway.

Ahmed Yakout
Ahmed Yakout

We have all the respect for the judiciary and I think he will be tried in other cases, and I do not like this guy in corrupting political life for 30 years and because of his subordinates to the west and the lack of independence and the West, leaving Mubarak at the moment unlike Morsi has a terrorist here stress that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist (((But also traitors))) That the target of protests by supporters of Morsy is a model of Algeria or Syria all the glory of the people and the national army who crushed the West in a very sensitive area such as the sensitive area of a man xD

Abraham Yeshuratnam
Abraham Yeshuratnam

ArabSpring is a mirage. Arab nightmare will be an apt ter.inology. Assad hassuccessfully crushed the Arab Spring. Now Egypt. .

Abdul Naeem Quraishi
Abdul Naeem Quraishi

The Great Game has begun. Death to the people. Long live the legacy of Anwar Saadat.

Adrian Jawort
Adrian Jawort

He should run for election. He knows how to handle the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muhammad Fahmi
Muhammad Fahmi

How Hosni plans his way out of the jail by proxy war - A documentary.

Marten Magdi
Marten Magdi

مبروك انك طلعت المفروض نكرمك

Ashraf Mahmoud
Ashraf Mahmoud

Yes it is a coup by more than 30 million people in he streets from June 30 to July 3rd! The Egyptian army did what Germans and Europeans failed to do back in 1933. Had they been successful, they could have saved Europe and the world from a democratically elected Hitler !!! Come on give me a break!!

Karim Scofield
Karim Scofield

and the muslims brotherhood are back to jails ;)

Will Mac
Will Mac

so after Morsi was ousted, why were there millions of people celebrating with fireworks and smiles? looked pretty popular to me.

FMEN
FMEN

So were the Muslim Brotherhood right about the opposition when everyone else was wrong? Hmmmmm....

Dan Davido
Dan Davido

It's a coup not a popular revolution, General Sisi is the real terrorist. It's a military coup. It's not a war against terrorism, it's a war against political opponents. This war in a matter of weeks, has already cost well over a thousand lives. We are the Egyptian people who reject military rule, support democracy and democratic transfer of authority, and believe the Egyptian people have the capacity to solve their differences peacefully. All our marches are peaceful but the army and police use thugs to attack and kill us in our protests. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Mnm9neSLc

Irune Medina
Irune Medina

just because he's the Ruby's uncle!! LOL!!!

Raja1
Raja1

@Ashraf Mahmoud You need a break Morsi neither showed any indication of doing a Hitler nor could he have done he was only replaced because he represented 60 % of the population and not the rich Your strange "millions" number is false hundreds of thousands not 33% of the population supported your violent movement please take a break and save us from your wild fantasies


Lolly
Lolly

If you don't like Egypt please leave