Egyptian court removes last bar to setting Mubarak free

The New York Times reports: An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered former President Hosni Mubarak released from prison, saying all appeals by prosecutors to keep him behind bars had been exhausted. Some accounts said his freedom could come within hours.

An official in the office of his lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, confirmed that the firm expected Mr. Mubarak, 85, would be released from prison by Thursday.

Al Ahram, the state newspaper, said on its Web site Wednesday afternoon that his release may be more imminent, quoting an unidentified judicial source. Other reports claimed the prosecution would still have 48 hours to appeal his release.

Even some of Mr. Mubarak’s opponents expected his release. “We are now facing a sound release order, and the prosecution will appeal and the appeal will be denied and he will walk out, and he has a right to do so,” said Khaled Abu Bakr, a prominent lawyer involved in the cases of protesters killed during the protests against Mr. Mubarak that preceded his downfall more than two years ago.

A judicial source told The New York Times that all appeals had been exhausted “and procedures for his release will begin to be processed right away unless he’s detained pending other trials.” Wednesday’s order, however, applied to the last of at least three prosecutions that Mr. Mubarak still faced. He had already been ordered freed pending trial on two other cases, including a retrial on charges of complicity in the deaths of 800 protesters at the end of his regime in January 2011. [Continue reading…]

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