Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, the sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, pending investigations into the retrial of the “presidential palaces” case, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Thursday.
The Mubaraks will walk free following the verdict as they are not standing trial in any other cases.
Egyptian social media users lambasted the court’s decision, referring to the irony of releasing Mubarak’s sons days after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised to release jailed activists and journalists on the fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution.
Below is a summary of the trials involving the two Mubaraks:
The “Mubarak mansions” case
Mubarak, Gamal and Alaa were convicted of embezzling more than LE100 million last May. Mubarak was sentenced to three years in prison, while his sons were sentenced to four, in what has become known as the “presidential palaces” or “Mubarak mansions” case. Mubarak has been serving his prison term in a military hospital in Cairo due to ill health. From 2002 to 2011, the former president and his two sons allegedly facilitated the appropriation of public funds for their private homes and projects. The Mubaraks appealed the verdict and the Court of Cassation granted them a retrial.
The gas deal to Israel
The Mubaraks were accused of corruption in facilitating a deal to export natural gas to Israel. In this case, the two sons were accused of receiving bribes in the form of five villas from business tycoon Hussein Salem to facilitate the gas deal. The Cairo Criminal Court acquitted them in November in a historic court verdict, and at the same time acquitted Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six security aides of charges that they conspired to kill January 25 protesters.
Manipulating the stock market
The Mubaraks and six other businessmen and officials from the Egyptian National Bank were accused of illegally acquiring over LE2 billion to manipulate the stock market, squandering public funds and causing grave losses to the Egyptian economy. In June 2013, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of all the defendants and sent the case back to the prosecution.
The “land of the pilots” case
The Mubaraks and former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq were all acquitted of embezzling public funds in December 2013. The case was initiated by the currently incarcerated former MP Essam Sultan in 2012 before the presidential elections, in which Shafiq lost to ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The former air force commander left Egypt for Dubai after losing in the presidential run-off. Since then, he has faced three cases in absentia concerning the illegal sale of state land. The case is referred to as “the land of the pilots,” in reference to the below-value sale of land formerly belonging to the Housing Association of Air Force Officers to the Mubarak sons.
The Illicit Gains Authority accused the two sons of abusing their father’s position to gain huge fortunes that were supplementary to their incomes. After the brothers appealed the prosecutor’s recommendation to jail them, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered their release in June, but fined each LE1 million pending investigations.