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Prosecutor orders release of Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak

Prosecutor orders release of Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak
Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to supporters from Maadi Military Hospital in Cairo in April 2016. (Amr Nabil / Associated Press)

Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak was ordered to be freed from detention on Monday, according to the prosecutor who signed his release order.

The decision ends nearly six years of legal proceedings against Mubarak and seems certain to revive the ongoing debate over whether the goals of the 2011 uprising that ended his reign were ever realized.

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The prosecutor, Ibrahim Saleh, said he ordered Mubarak's release after he accepted a petition by the former president's lawyer for his freedom on the basis of time already served.

Mubarak, 88, was acquitted by the country's top appeals court on March 2 of charges that he ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolution. That verdict, according to Saleh, cleared the way for Mubarak's lawyer to request his release.

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Mubarak has already served a three-year sentence for embezzling state funds while in detention in connection with the protesters' case, Saleh said.

A criminal court ruled in May 2015 to jail Mubarak for three years and fine him millions of Egyptian pounds following his conviction for embezzling funds earmarked for the maintenance and renovation of presidential palaces. The ruling was upheld by another court in January 2016.

"There is not a single reason to keep him in detention and the police must execute the order," Saleh said. "He is free to go."

News of Mubarak's imminent release was greeted jubilantly by his supporters on a Facebook page titled, "I am sorry, Mr. President."

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One supporter, Tamer Abdel-Moneim, described Mubarak's trial in a column in the popular Al-Youm al-Sabei news site as a "farce." He wrote: "The oppression and injustice that befell the man compels upstanding men to rally behind him to stop the silliest and most contemptuous farce we have recently known."

The order to release Mubarak was the latest in a series of court rulings in recent years that acquitted about two dozen Mubarak-era Cabinet ministers, top police officers and aides charged with graft or in connection with the killing of about 900 protesters during the uprising. Some of them have made a comeback to public life, while others partially paid back fortunes they illegally amassed.

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UPDATES:

5:20 p.m.: This article has been updated with comments from the prosecutor and other information.

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This article was originally published at 8:30 a.m.

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