Cairo: Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in detention for more than two years, could be released later this month, according to legal experts.
A court trying Mubarak, 85, on charges of complicity in killing hundreds of protesters during a 2011 uprising against his rule, is expected next week to decide on ending his house arrest.
In August, another court ordered Mubarak released after he had settled a corruption case, drawing protests from revolutionary groups.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi used his power granted under a state of emergency and ordered Mubarak be put under house arrest at a military hospital in southern Cairo.
The emergency state, declared in mid-August following a deadly security crackdown on protesters backing Mubarak’s Islamist successor Mohammad Mursi, is set to expire on Thursday.
Al Beblawi has recently been quoted as saying that Mubarak will be transferred to temporary detention after his house arrest ends.
“What Al Beblawi said is an unacceptable interference in the judiciary’s powers,” said Farid Al Deeb, Mubarak’s defence lawyer.
“His statements implied an attempt to influence the court’s decision on Mubarak. This is unbecoming for a senior state official like Al Beblawi. Whether Mubarak will be jailed or not is up to the court to decide.”
Al Beblawi later said he was misquoted on Mubarak, signalling no plan on his military-backed government’s side to block Mubarak’s release.
“Mubarak is set to be released once the emergency of state ends,” said Hussain Ebrahim, a legal expert. “To send him back to prison, new evidence should be offered to the court, which has the authority to decide on the matter.”
Hussain added that a recently amended legislation, removing cap on temporary detention, cannot be applied retroactively to Mubarak.
Mubarak’s family has prepared for a reunion with him at a villa in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm Al Shaikh, according to local media reports.
His two sons, Alaa and Jamal, are being tried on charges of wasting public money and stock market manipulation.
In June last year, a court sentenced Mubarak to life in prison after finding him guilty of failing to prevent the killing of more than 800 protesters in the uprising that forced him out of power in February 2011.
However, the country’s top appeal court in January accepted Mubarak’s appeal and ordered his retrial, which began in May.
The retrial is due to resume on Saturday.