Ex-Egypt president Mubarak leaves Cairo prison

By Sarah Lynch, Special for USA TODAY

CAIRO - Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was released from prison on Thursday after more than two years in detention, and amid a tumultuous political transition that began with his ouster.

The former president left prison by helicopter and was headed to a military hospital because of his health, the Associated Press reported, citing Egyptian state TV.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rose up in January 2011 against the now-deposed dictator, who ruled Egypt for 29 years. Months later, Mubarak appeared in a courtroom behind bars in what was a stunning moment for the Arab world as many hoped to finally see justice.

On Thursday, he was released after being cleared a day earlier in a corruption case. But he still faces retrial for failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising against him. He also faces investigation into at least two other corruption cases.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi ordered Mubarak, 85, be placed under house arrest after his release. Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, still lives in Cairo.

The court ruling that led to Mubarak's release - even if temporary - may spur more anger in a nation already troubled by widespread violence and unrest and deep political division.

Opponents of the nation's new leaders say the Jan. 25 revolution and all it stood for disappeared, and that Mubarak is a symbol of that reversal.

Egypt's first freely elected President Mohammed Morsi, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted July 3 in a military coup and has since been held incommunicado. Leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Morsi have been thrown in jail and the state is continuing a crackdown on Islamist groups, which rose to power after Mubarak's ouster.

"It's 2010 all over again," the Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-coup alliance said on Twitter. The group called for protests on Friday to protest the July 3 coup.

"Friday is the day we get back the revolution that was stolen from us," the group said.

The Tamarod movement, which drove protests and a petition campaign against Morsi in late June, called for a "popular trial" of Mubarak.

"We will not remain silent about freedom for any killer of the Egyptian people," it said.

Others, however, say Mubarak is no longer relevant in a nation concerned with more pressing issues, and still others welcome his release.


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