News / Middle East

Impending Release of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has Political Overtones

Impending Release of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has Political Overtonesi
August 22, 2013 12:21 AM
Egyptians are awaiting the impending release of former president Hosni Mubarak, held in prison on charges of corruption and the death of demonstrators in 2011. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports while the decision by the Cairo court is based on Egyptian law, there are significant political overtones.
Egyptians are awaiting the impending release of former president Hosni Mubarak, held in prison on charges of corruption and the death of demonstrators in 2011.  While the decision by the Cairo court is based on Egyptian law, there are significant political overtones.

For three decades, former President Hosni Mubarak was the face of Egyptian power.  That an Egyptian court now says his detention must end is no coincidence, according to Middle East analyst James Phillips.

"It's no secret that the army would like to see former President Mubarak released because they consider that a blot on the army's reputation - the fact that he's in jail," said Phillips.

Related video report by Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo:

Egyptian Court Orders Mubarak's Releasei
August 21, 2013 3:41 PM
Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak may soon be released from prison as a round-up of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood members continues, and foreign nations review aid to the Arab world's most populous nation. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.

Hosni Mubarak

  • February 11, 2011: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns amid massive protests across Egypt
  • April 13, 2011: Authorities detain Mubarak
  • May 24, 2011: Officials say Mubarak will stand trial for corruption and deaths of anti-government protesters
  • August 3, 2011: Mubarak's trial starts, he pleads innocent
  • June 2, 2012: Mubarak sentenced to life in prison for complicity in killing of protesters in 2011 uprising
  • January, 2013: Court allows Mubarak to appeal and orders a retrial
  • August 19, 2013: Mubarak acquitted of corruption charge
  • August 21, 2013: Egyptian court orders Mubarak to be released. Faces retrial on charges of complicity in the killing of the protesters
  • August 22, 2013: Mubarak is released from prison and placed under house arrest
Phillips says many in the military have long bristled at images of the former military leader in a cage during court proceedings and that Mubarak's release could help boost morale as the military tries to impose stability.    

The move could also help appease some countries - long friendly with the former Mubarak government - which have pledged billions of dollars to Egypt.

"It could also be a barometer of the growing influence of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries that have lobbied for Mubarak's release," said Phillips.

Yet even though Mubarak's court-ordered release may appear to be a political gambit, there's a legal basis.  The court ruled that even though Mubarak still faces some charges, he has already served the maximum pre-trial detention allowed under Egyptian law.  

Mohamed Badie

  • Elected eighth supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010
  • Became member of Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau in 1996 and International Guidance Bureau in 2007
  • Professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Beni Suef
  • Sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1965 with other Brotherhood members
  • Served 9 years, has been imprisoned several other times
  • Born in 1943
The former leader still must appear in court to answer charges he failed to prevent the deaths of protesters demanding his ouster in 2011. But David Pollack with the Washington Institute says his court-ordered release sends a clear message to the Muslim Brotherhood and others who oppose Egypt's military-led government.

“The statement is, ‘This is a new game.  It’s the Brotherhood who are the real traitors and criminals and terrorists and spies,'" said Pollack.

Increasingly in Egypt, images of Mubarak's incarceration are being replaced by those of senior Brotherhood leaders who now find themselves under arrest.

Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo also contributed to this report 

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

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Comment Sorting
by: Amantama Adams from: Accra, Ghana
August 22, 2013 9:32 AM
Been an African is the Greatest Honor given by GOD. If been released from prison with heal the Land of Africa, it is a good deal and a thoughtful one as such.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 22, 2013 12:59 AM
I would like to know if a lot of Moslems who do not support Muslimbrotherhood are awaiting Mubarak's release and come to seat again. I also would like to know if seculair people most of them are probably Christians are also longing to Mubarak's instatement. Or for starters, it might be too hasty to connect his release to his political restoration? Anyway I suppose those who mostly eager Mubarak to return to politics are military and Israel.

by: Richard Johnson
August 21, 2013 4:21 PM
If Tamarod is wondering who is repsonsible for the release of Hosni Mubarak’s release from prison, they need to look in the mirror. They are just as resonsible for the deaths of innocent Egyptians as Mubarak. There is a price to pay when you dance with the devil.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2013 12:12 PM
Thank God Hosni Mubarak is free again. Right from the on set of the Egypt Spring that metamorphosed into the trial and fouled up investigation, I had insisted he was the only goodman and the only sane head of the potentates to rule Egypt, nay the entire Arab and islamic world. He had been cool headed but the madness of the jihadists was so concealed that those crazy for democracy thought they were the best things to happen to Egypt. Now we know better. Thanks to God Almighty for little mercies.

The idea to separate religion from politics is essential for democracy to grow anywhere and everywhere. The interim government is moving in the right direction here. But on El Bradei, yes he seems to play tricks with what he really believes or where he belongs. His action can be judged tantamount to support to the brotherhood. In other words he might have been a brotherhood sympathizer and would have sabotaged the government had he remained. Since he left, democratic practice dictates that he be left alone. If anything, he only showed himself to be unreliable when the going gets tough. Chickening out under the circumstances did not help his personality nor the situation on ground in the country - it did not provide any solution in any way while the country was on fire. That however does not mean he should be tried for his failure or breach of national trust.

by: Anuoluwapo Oladipo from: Lagos Nigeria
August 21, 2013 10:37 AM
To God be all praise. Shame on all Islamic terrorist. They will soon reap the reward of what they have sown. They have ruined the economy of Egypt; they have brought deaths to all Egyptians, caused oppressions and must surely be punished. How can they do this to the angel of peace knowing well how Hosni Mubarak treated them and dialogued with them? Shame on all these terrorists for being a snitch.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 21, 2013 5:10 PM
I do agree with our friend of Nigeria. what they said is a fact. unfortuenly .many American policy maker do not get the fact straight that radical Islam is extremely dangerous and it is a threat for the whole globe

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