Egypt's Hosni Mubarak freed from prison

Key Points

  • Egyptian ex-president Hosni Mubarak is released from prison having appealed against his detention
  • He faces charges of killing demonstrators during protests that toppled him in 2011, and corruption
  • A helicopter flew the 85-year-old out of Cairo's Tora prison at around 16:00 (15:00 BST)
  • He is reportedly under house arrest at a military hospital in Cairo. His retrial resumes on Sunday
  • Many see his release as a sign the army is rolling back changes made since he was deposed
  • His lawyers argued he had served the maximum term of pre-trial detention. All times BST

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been released from prison after his lawyers argued he had served the maximum term of pre-trial detention.


    A helicopter flew the 85-year-old out of Tora prison on the southern outskirts of Cairo around 16:00 (15:00 BST).


    He was reportedly taken to a military hospital. He is to be held under house arrest, pending the resumption of a retrial on charges of corruption and killing demonstrators during the protests that toppled him in February 2011.


    Mr Mubarak was found guilty of not putting a stop to the killing of protesters by security forces and sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012.

    In January his life sentence was overturned on appeal and a retrial ordered.

    The retrial began on 11 May but was then adjourned and is scheduled to resume on 25 August.

    He also faces corruption charges.


    Supporters waved as the helicopter carrying Mr Mubarak left the prison.

    Supporters wave as the helicopter carrying Mr Mubarak leaves the prison
    Quentin Sommerville BBC News, Cairo

    Tamarod on why no protests against Mubarak's release: "The Egyptian people already have a lot to deal with."

    A supporter of former president Hosni Mubarak celebrates as she waits for his release in front of the main gate of Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo, 22 August 2013

    Supporters of the former president have been celebrating in front of the main gate of Tora prison, although their numbers are said to be relatively few. Correspondents have noted the lack of protests.

    An ambulance transfers Mubarak from the helicopter to a military hospital

    Egyptian TV pictures showed Mr Mubarak being transferred from the helicopter into an ambulance. An ambulance was later seen entering Maadi military hospital in southern Cairo.

    1538: Kevin Connolly BBC Middle East correspondent in Cairo,

    says this is a remarkable moment at a time of huge instability in Egypt. Mr Mubarak has plenty of supporters - some of whom gathered outside the prison today - who believe Egypt has been worse off without him.

    But many more will feel his release somehow reverses one of the most tangible gains of the Arab Spring.


    The move comes after a court ruled on Wednesday that Mr Mubarak must be released. The ruling came during the hearing on charges that the former president had accepted gifts from state-run publisher al-Ahram.

    Shortly after the court ruling on Wednesday, the office of Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said Mr Mubarak would be placed under house arrest after his release.

    "In the context of the emergency law, the deputy military commander issued an order that Hosni Mubarak should be put under house arrest," the office said in a statement.

    File picture from 2 June 2012 shows Hosni Mubarak sitting inside a cage in a courtroom during his verdict hearing in Cairo

    There have been questions about the state of Mr Mubarak's health.

    Before his life sentence was overturned on appeal last year, he was moved from prison to an army hospital after reportedly suffering a series of strokes.

    He was said to be on a life support machine and there were even reports that he was "clinically dead". These were later denied.

    Der Spiegel reporter Matthias Gebauer

    tweets: #mubarak wearing dark sunglasses and white training suite when loaded from the heli to an ambulance, army snipers aiming at me taking pics

    1557: Bethany Bell BBC News, Cairo,

    says that at the age of 85, Mr Mubarak probably has no political future. There is some concern that his release will raise the stakes at a time when tensions in Egypt are running high.

    But others say his fate is now a detail, in the much larger struggle for the country's future.

    Egyptian medics and military policemen escort Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance, 22 August 2013

    Mr Mubarak was photographed being stretchered into an ambulance after he was flown out of prison, escorted by medics and military policemen.


    tweets: Releasing Mubarak from prison will re-ignite the spirit of Jan25 revolution. Things have changed for good, no going back


    Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down as president of Egypt in February 2011, after three decades at the helm.

    His departure from power followed weeks of mass street protests in Cairo and other cities.

    About 850 people were killed in a crackdown by security forces as his government tried unsuccessfully to quash the protests.

    Protesters celebrate the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo's Tahrir Square

    Thousands of people celebrated Mr Mubarak's resignation in February 2011 in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

    An ambulance moves Hosni Mubarak across a busy street on the banks of the Nile in Cairo

    Egyptian TV showed an ambulance moving Mr Mubarak across a busy street on the banks of the Nile from the helicopter to the military hospital in the Maadi area.


    Mona al-Qazzaz, a UK spokeswoman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said the move to free Hosni Mubarak was an extension of the military action on 3 July that resulted in the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    The judiciary was conspiring to reinstate the Mubarak regime, she added.

    "We're seeing a treacherous junta with the judiciary and the media forming this campaign to return the oppressive regime," Ms al-Qazzaz told BBC News.

    "We went out on the streets [in 2011] to gain freedom from this regime and it's back now."

    1638: Bethany Bell BBC News

    We understand it was on Mr Mubarak's request that he was taken to the military hospital in Maadi.


    Mr Mubarak's release from prison has divided opinion on the streets of Cairo.

    Reuters news agency has quoted Mohamed Hussein, a 36-year-old waiting outside Tora prison to visit a relative, saying: "We love Mubarak."

    His sister Fatheya said: "Isn't it enough that for 30 years he did not drag us into a war, and let us live in dignity?"


    But others have been less enthusiastic.

    "Mubarak should be punished for this political corruption and for oppressing the Egyptian people," Heba Sharif told the BBC.

    "It makes me angry that he could get off, but there is not enough evidence for cases he's being tried for to imprison him.

    "If he is let off, it doesn't mean that the revolution is a failure but there are some faults in the revolution because we didn't have a leader to create the right path," added the 21-year-old Cairo book shop worker.


    Egypt is currently under a state of emergency, imposed following the interim government's bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.

    Hosni Mubarak is transported on a stretcher to a military hospital

    Here is a close up of Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak being transported from Tora prison to Cairo's Maadi military hospital, where he is reportedly being held under house arrest this evening.

    Chris Kgadima

    tweets: Hosni Mubarak is out of jail. Is it back to square one or Tahir Square? It looks like the revolution has collapsed spectacularly .#Egpyt

    Tahriri Square, Cairo, 22 August 2013

    BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen has just sent in this picture from Cairo's Tahrir Square.

    "Forlorn Tahrir Sq #Cairo just before curfew," he tweets. "Joy here on night #mubarak ousted seems like a long time ago. "


    So to recap on this afternoon's events, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been released from Tora prison and transported by helicopter to Maadi military hospital in southern Cairo.

    The move follows a court ruling on Wednesday for his release, after Mr Mubarak's lawyers argued he had served the maximum term of pre-trial detention.


    The 85-year-old still faces charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of demonstrators during the protests that toppled him in 2011.

    He is expected to be held under house arrest at the hospital. His retrial is set to resume on 25 August.


    The release comes at a time of deep political turmoil in Egypt following the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.

    There are more nationwide protests planned for Friday and the Associated Press news agency has reported that the US embassy in Cairo has warned its citizens to stay inside or close to their homes from around 13:00 local time.


    We're going to end our minute-by-minute coverage of the situation for now, but you can read all the latest from Egypt on the BBC news website.

    Thanks for following this afternoon's developments with the BBC.


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