- (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in the 2011 uprising, is expected to be released from jail after a prosecutor cleared him in a corruption case.
"All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week," Mubarak's lawyer, Fareed El-Deeb, shared with Reuters on Monday.
The 85-year-old former president, who was in office from 1981 to 2011, and who many described as a "dictator," still faces a retrial on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his resignation, after an appeals court overturned his previous life sentence.
Mubarak has went through a number of serious health problems in the last few years, with some sources having reported that he suffered a heart attack while being transported to prison, and he has been held in military hospital.
News of Mubarak's release comes at a time of crisis for Egypt, which is deep in turmoil after President Mohamed Morsi, Mubarak's successor, was ousted from power following a new uprising in July. Supporters of Morsi, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, have clashed with the government's security forces, which has led to hundreds of deaths in Cairo and across several other Egyptian cities.
Islamists have also heavily targeted Christians, accusing them of backing the anti-Morsi uprising, and have burned down a number of churches and Christian schools in the last few weeks. Three nuns were paraded on the streets like "prisoners of war," two female staff members were sexually abused and there were at least 58 attacks on Christians and their property across the Arab country according to weekend reports.
"We are nuns. We rely on God and the angels to protect us," said Sister Manal, describing the attack. "At the end, they paraded us like prisoners of war and hurled abuse at us as they led us from one alley to another without telling us where they were taking us," she said.
The Bible Society of Egypt has also said that its bookshops were burned down in the cities of Assiut and Minia in southern Egypt. Ramez Atallah, the society's general director, explained that the attackers "demolished the metal doors protecting the bookshops, broke the store windows behind them and set the bookshops on fire."
A poll released by Gallup on Friday found that most Egyptians said that they were actually happier during Mubarak's reign than the presidency of Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi.
As many as 80 percent of Egyptians who responded to the poll said that the country was worse off during Morsi, and half said that they believe Egypt will be even worse off five years from now.
"The euphoria that Egyptians exhibited across public squares after Mubarak resigned has long passed. More than two years later and prior to the removal of Mubarak's elected successor (Morsi), Egyptians were noticeably pessimistic about what the resignation has gained their country," Gallup said.
"The latest levels of pessimism, coupled with recent bouts of violence related to the forceful breakup of pro-Morsi protests this week, and the ensuing violence since then, point to a dark and concerning path for the country."