| 20.6°C Dublin

Mubarak (86) may be released as conviction overturned

Close

An Egyptian court overturned a three-year prison sentence against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordered a retrial yesterday (Getty Images)

An Egyptian court overturned a three-year prison sentence against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordered a retrial yesterday (Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (R) and his son Gamal sit behind bars during a court hearing in the capital Cairo. An Egyptian court on January 13, 2015, overturned a three-year prison sentence against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordered a retrial (Getty Images)

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak (R) and his son Gamal sit behind bars during a court hearing in the capital Cairo. An Egyptian court on January 13, 2015, overturned a three-year prison sentence against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordered a retrial (Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

/

An Egyptian court overturned a three-year prison sentence against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordered a retrial yesterday (Getty Images)

An Egyptian court has overturned former president Hosni Mubarak's final outstanding conviction.

The move prompted lawyers for the ageing autocrat to demand his release, and seemingly brings the country's 2011 revolution against his rule full circle.

In November, another court dropped murder charges against Mr Mubarak (86) over the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising.

Mr Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were handed jail terms of between three and four years last year, after being convicted of using state funds to renovate the family's private residences. The money was spent on over $17m-worth of luxury goods, including double-door German refrigerators, and a special chair to seat Mr Mubarak and his young grandsons.

A retrial was ordered, though a new date has yet to be announced. Though the ruling paved way for Mubarak's imminent release, there was no explicit statement from the authorities that he would leave the military hospital in Cairo, where he has been held in custody, a free man.

But his lawyer said his client ought to go free as he "has already served" three years in detention, including the time he spent in custody awaiting trial. Although it was an upsurge in popular anger that swept Mr Mubarak from power four years ago, his release would be unlikely to spark a significant response.

The once-hated dictator has been largely rehabilitated in the eyes of both the Egyptian state and its public, and members of Mr Mubarak's disgraced inner circle have made a comeback in the year and a half since his successor was overthrown in a military coup.

Some find themselves right at the top of the political and security establishment, championing a searing crackdown against government opponents. More than 41,000 people have been arrested in Egypt since Mr Morsi's overthrow, and torture is commonplace in custody.

Yesterday, the British government drew criticism from rights groups over its decision to send the largest UK trade delegation to Egypt in decades, a move suggesting that business was back to normal, despite the reversion to Mubarak-era abuses.

Reprieve, a UK-based group that has campaigned against Egypt's recent return to the use of the death penalty, said it "beggars belief that the UK is taking a 'business as usual' approach to a country where hundreds of people, including children, face potential death sentences in farcical mass trials". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk