April 21, 2013 (TSR-Xinhua) – An Egyptian court decided Saturday to temporarily release former President Hosni Mubarak over charges of illicit gains, but still to keep him in custody over other cases, official news agency MENA reported.
The decision of the Court of Appeals came in response to Mubarak’s appeal of his continuous detention in the case of graft and illicit gains.
The court, presided by judge Ahmed Salah al-Shehabi, decided to “wholly accept the appeal in form and substance and to release the defendant (Mubarak).”
In response, Prosecutor-General Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah decided to appeal the court order of Mubarak’s release, the state TV reported.
Despite the court ruling, Mubarak will remain in temporary custody over other two cases, namely the case of looting public funds allocated for maintenance of presidential palaces and the case of getting deluxe gifts from state-owned newspapers.
The court based the decision on Article 139 of the Criminal Procedures Law, which was raised by Mubarak’s lawyer Farid al-Deeb during Saturday’s session. The article prohibits carrying out temporary detention orders six months after their issuance.
Deeb argued that the decision of Mubarak’s detention over illicit gains was made in May 2011, which is about two years ago, invalidating continuous detention of the former president over the charge.
Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012 over responsibility for killing protesters in the 2011 political upheaval, but he appealed the verdict and the Court of Cassation accepted the appeal and ordered a retrial for him and his Interior Minister Habib al-Adli.
On Monday, the Court of Appeals ordered to temporarily release Mubarak over the case of killing protesters, but he had to remain in custody over investigations in other cases.
On Wednesday, the court set May 11 to retry the former president and his interior minister over the case of killing protesters.
The retrial had been set on April 13, but it was adjourned as presiding judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah withdrew from the case and referred it to the Court of Appeals again to choose another judge.
The presiding judge withdrew “due to feeling of uneasiness” after claimants rejected him and caused a state of disorder inside the courtroom because he formerly acquitted 24 ex-regime officials in a similar case.
Mubarak ruled Egypt for three decades and was toppled by nationwide protests that swept the country in January 2011.