The North Cairo Court ordered the release on Wednesday of former president Hosni Mubarak in the so-called “Ahram gifts” case, in which Mubarak allegedly accepted $11m worth of gifts, including jewellery and watches, from the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram. He has allegedly already repaid the amount of the gifts, and the other defendants in the case have been released, suggesting that the charges against Mubarak could eventually be dropped.
“Public prosecution have previously reconciled with other businessmen involved in the case such as Fathy Seroor and Zakria Azmy who were allowed to repay the value of the gifts in return for their release,” said Aly Atef, a human rights lawyer at Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).
Mubarak also faces charges of embezzling money from a fund earmarked for presidential palace renovations. A judge working on this case ordered him released on Monday, on the same procedural grounds. A separate charge accuses him of “illicit gains” during his presidency.
Mubarak has been transferred from prison to house arrest at a military hospital. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sunday. In addition to the corruption cases, he still faces a retrial on charges of killing protesters during the 2011 revolution. But he has already spent more than two years in pre-trial detention, the maximum allowed under Egyptian law, and so the courts ruled him eligible for release pending trial.
Sources: Daily News Egypt, Aug. 21, 2013, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/08/21/mubarak-released-after-al-ahram-gifts-case/
Aljazeera, Aug. 23, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/08/201382213336848655.html