A lawyer for deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told NBC News that he is 99% sure the former leader will be released from custody. Mubarak, an autocrat who ruled Egypt for three decades, has been detained since the 2011 popular uprising that ended his rule.
An Egyptian court ordered the 85-year-old former president to be released after clearing him in a corruption case Monday. Keeping him detained are separate allegations that are expected to be resolved this week.
Mubarak still faces retrial charges on complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising. He has been convicted of failing to protect protesters during that uprising, resulting in a lifetime prison sentence, which his lawyers have appealed.
“He is certainly expected to face a lot of trials in the coming months,” NBC Foreign Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin said on Andrea Mitchell Reports Tuesday, noting that tomorrow’s hearing could “[pave] the way for his release.”
“He is not, by any means, acquitted of some of the wrongdoings or some of the charges that he still will stand trial for, including a retrial on the killing of protesters. So it is unlikely that if he is released, that he would be allowed to leave the country,” Mohyeldin said.
A myriad of charges have been brought against the former president since his ouster, with some charges dismissed as new charges are filed. Critics cite the continued detention of Mubarak as a means for the succeeding government, headed by the first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi, to preserve legitimacy and carry public favor.
With Morsi’s own overthrow on July 3 of this year, and the installation of a new interim government headed by General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi (Mubarak’s former head of military intelligence), Mubarak’s release appears more likely than ever.
Hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded in the crackdown that has ensued since Morsi’s ouster.
The Obama administration did not weigh in on rumors of Mubarak’s release, with deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest saying it “is an Egyptian legal matter and something that I’ll leave for them to determine, and it’s not something that I’m going to weigh on from here,” but he added that “politically motivated detentions inside Egypt should end, and that certainly would include the politically motivated detention of former President Morsi.”
Asked Monday about reports of Mubarak’s release, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a reporter at a joint press conference, “I don’t know about a Mubarak report. I’m not aware of it.“
Hagel also noted that the United States’ “ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited” and that Egypt’s future is “up to the Egyptian people.”
NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin and Charlene Gubash contributed to this report from Cairo.
Watch Ayman Mohyeldin’s report on Andrea Mitchell Reports below: