Egyptian court orders Mubarak release

posted at 10:01 am on August 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Get ready for Mubarak Fever to add to the chaos on the streets of Egypt.  A court ruled this morning that Hosni Mubarak must be released from prison, a move that will enrage Islamists in and out of the Muslim Brotherhood — and might not be too popular with anyone else, either:

Officials say an Egyptian court has ordered the release of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, but it’s not immediately clear whether the prosecutors will appeal the order.

The Wednesday decision comes in a hearing on charges against Mubarak of accepting gifts from a state-owned newspaper, the last case that has kept the ailing leader in detention.

Unless the military-imposed government files an objection, Mubarak may walk out of prison as early as tomorrow:

Deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak will leave jail as early as Thursday after a court ruling that jolted a divided nation already in turmoil seven weeks after the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Convening on Wednesday at the Cairo jail where Mubarak is held, the court upheld a petition from his lawyer demanding the release of the man who ruled Egypt for 30 years until he was overthrown during the uprisings that swept the Arab world in early 2011.

Judicial and security sources said the court had ordered Mubarak’s release. His lawyer, Fareed al-Deeb, confirmed this as he left Tora prison after the session. Asked when Mubarak would go free, he told Reuters: “Maybe tomorrow”.

Reuters notes that the octagenarian probably will not return to public life, and the military government has enough problems as it is.  Still, the release of the man who imposed a military state of emergency for more than 30 years and ruled by decree at about the same time as the military-imposed government just announced a new state of emergency may provide a little too much nostalgia for Egyptians who were overwhelmingly glad to see Mubarak go in the first place.  It’s not going to make General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi’s job any easier.

The coincidences don’t end there, either.  As Mubarak prepares to exit prison, al-Sissi’s government keeps sending more Islamists to take his place:

Egyptian authorities on Wednesday continued their crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies by arresting two more high-profile Islamist figures, while officials said that they had started a closed hearing in a prison outside Cairo on whether to release jailed ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

The arrested Islamists include a preacher known for his fiery sermons who was reportedly caught as he tried to flee to neighboring Libya in disguise, and a spokesman for the Brotherhood said to be on his way to catch a flight out of the country.

They are the latest allies of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, to be arrested. On Tuesday authorities detained the Brotherhood’s supreme leader and spiritual guide, Mohammed Badie, dealing a serious blow to an embattled movement now struggling to keep up its protest campaign against the military’s overthrow of Morsi and subsequent deadly assaults on pro-Morsi sit-ins.

If al-Sissi is smart, he’ll arrange for a comfortable exile for Mubarak, rather than allow him to stick around and become a flashpoint for further violence.  At least until the interim government makes progress toward democratization and reconciliation, the presence of a former dictator will prove too destabilizing and polarizing, especially when al-Sissi is spending his time rounding up the usual suspects and tossing them into prison.


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I thought the guy was on this death bed like two years ago?

Oil Can on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

thought the guy was on this death bed like two years ago?

Oil Can on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

That death bed is pretty crowded in Egypt these days.

rhombus on August 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Well… they could use a technical adviser for stomping on the muzzie bros…

CPT. Charles on August 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I thought the guy was on this death bed like two years ago?

Oil Can on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

He got bettah.

/MontyPython mode OFF

I suspect that was intended to bluff the new government into letting him fade into obscurity.

Ed Morrissey on August 21, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Just as nostalgia for Stalin is a growing meme in Russia, in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and in Upper Egypt, as well…many many Egyptians are pining for the days of Mubarak, when there was food, and were jobs, and tourism, and even foreign investment…and one could walk past a Coptic Church and not be on the lookout for a mob from the MB carrying torches and RPG’s…

If only.

If only Team Obama had not pushed Mubarak out…he’d already announced he was not going to be a contender anymore…nor were his sons…and a transition governance would be a good idea for a year or two to allow for the formation of other political parties, other than the Moslem Brotherhood…

But, Team Obama, channeling their inner Dr. Seuss, insisted, loudly, “Marvin K. Mubarak, will you please go now!”

I’d imagine there are more in Egypt who will cheer the news of Mubarak’s release than there are those who presently cheer the Moslem Brotherhood.

coldwarrior on August 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM

A court ruled this morning that Hosni Mubarak must be released from prison

Hey, what could possibly go wrong? /

Seriously, I wonder what these riots have done to Egypt’s tourism industry. I would think that one of the key provisions for progress toward democratization and reconciliation would be getting the tourists back in those hotels and on camels out by the pyramids.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

He will be assasanated. If he stays.

Bmore on August 21, 2013 at 10:18 AM

If al-Sissi is smart, he’ll arrange for a comfortable exile for Mubarak, rather than allow him to stick around and become a flashpoint for further violence.

I’m quite sure, with the billions he stashed, Mubarak can afford a nice retirement in Dubai or the UAE…

JohnGalt23 on August 21, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Mubarak looks like a Saint compared to this group….

sandee on August 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Just as nostalgia for Stalin is a growing meme in Russia, in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and in Upper Egypt, as well…many many Egyptians are pining for the days of Mubarak, when there was food, and were jobs, and tourism, and even foreign investment…and one could walk past a Coptic Church and not be on the lookout for a mob from the MB carrying torches and RPG’s…

coldwarrior on August 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I was in the former Yugoslavia over the summer. Same is true in some places there. Longing for the days when the economy was subject to central planning and not the whim of the free market.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM

OT- Bradley Manning gets 35 years. Not nearly long enough.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Just as nostalgia for Stalin is a growing meme in Russia…

Only amongst the Russians who were part of the ‘privileged’ in the former USSR.

There are plenty of Russians who still refer to him as ‘the monster’… and have good reason to do so.

CPT. Charles on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Be funny if he called for Obama to be removed from power…

profitsbeard on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

CPT. Charles on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Even among lowly factory retirees, military pensioners, workers who gave forty or fifty years to Mother Russia…and are living in hovels, selling anything they have to make it through the next winter, while their sons and daughters are living wide amongst the siloviki and god-awful rich oligarchs, hustlers, pimps and scammers…

…Stalin is no longer a bad name.

coldwarrior on August 21, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Be funny if he called for Obama to be removed from power…

profitsbeard on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

He’d be better advised to keep a low profile. Even lower than Rubio after immigration reform blew up in his face.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Wonder if the KFC next to the pyramids is still open…

And it’s interesting that none of the American based fast food restaurants were torched. yet.

patman77 on August 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM

The Big Pharaoh ‏@TheBigPharaoh 18m

In case you’re wondering, Mubarak’s release won’t create much repercussion inside Egypt. Many people stopped caring about him.

Blake on August 21, 2013 at 10:40 AM

These flip flopping dictator tales remind me of the perennial James Bond villain conundrum. They always tie Bond up to be lowered slowly into a pit of fire ants where he’ll be killed over the course of several hours. If they would just shoot Bond in the head they’d never have to worry about him again.

Mubarak and Morsi were both deposed by people who despised them in the midst of chaos and turmoil. Would the outrage have lasted long if someone had “accidentally” shot either man while trying to apprehend him? It’s sort of amazing that any dictator escapes the Qadaffi treatment. No rehabilitation from summary execution.

SoRight on August 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM

I hope Mubarak speaks out about how Obama betrayed Egypt and Obama’s love and connections to the Muslim Brotherhood…

Would not be surprised if Barry O. is loading up a drone to do some “surveillance” over Egypt…

albill on August 21, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Be funny if he called for Obama to be removed from power…

profitsbeard on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

OY!….the Irony

workingclass artist on August 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I thought the guy was on this death bed like two years ago?

Oil Can on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Like the Lockerbie bomber, who was miraculously cured after he left a Scottish prison. There are more miraculous healings in Mecca than in Lourdes these days.

Steve Z on August 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Anyone have the ‘Vegas line on his survivability odds?

listens2glenn on August 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Be funny if he called for Obama to be removed from power…

profitsbeard on August 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

It would be hilarious. I’ve seen pictures of billboards in Egypt with Obama’s image captioned “Supports Terrorists!”

dogsoldier on August 21, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Ward Cleaver on August 21, 2013 at 12:15 PM

It would be hilarious. I’ve seen pictures of billboards in Egypt with Obama’s image captioned “Supports Terrorists!”

dogsoldier on August 21, 2013 at 11:38 AM

I want to see those billboards here.

Ward Cleaver on August 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Wonder if the KFC next to the pyramids is still open…

And it’s interesting that none of the American based fast food restaurants were torched. yet.

patman77 on August 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM

As long as they keep making the extra crispy variety…

Ward Cleaver on August 21, 2013 at 12:17 PM