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A Wednesday of déjà vu: Morsi in jail, Mubarak to be released

Egypt's political map continues to be redrawn in dramatic ways on Wednesday as the Muslim Brotherhood and its rival Mubarak trade places

Passant Darwish , Wednesday 21 Aug 2013
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits inside a cage in a courtroom at the police academy in Cairo April 13, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Exactly one week after the bloody police dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo, deposed president Hosni Mubarak is expected to be released from prison while Muslim Brotherhood members are being rounded-up and charged.

On Wednesday morning, a Cairo appeal court ordered the release of ousted president Mubarak pending further investigations on charges of illegally receiving expensive gifts from the state-owned Ahram publisher.

Mubarak will remain in prison for 48 hours to give the prosecution a chance to consider whether it will appeal the decision to release him or not.

However, a judicial source told Ahram Online that the prosecution does not have the right to appeal the release order since Mubarak spent the maximum of two-years of mandatory precautionary detention pending the completion of trials in all cases.

On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, acting in the capacity of deputy military commander under the current emergency law, ordered the placement of Mubarak under mandatory house arrest in case of his release.

Hosni Mubarak will also remain on a travel ban list, prohibiting him from leaving the country.

Criticism over Mubarak’s release

Mubarak’s release drew criticism from a range of political forces.

Egypt's Rebel (Tamarod) campaign said Wednesday that they are "not surprised" by ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s release on Wednesday by a Cairo appeal court.

Tamarod charged that "the complicity of Morsi and his prosecutor-general" has led for this recent decision to set Mubarak free, saying that the Egyptian people should demand the retrial of Mubarak and his officials, along with the trial of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his allies.

Member of the political office of April 6 Youth Movement, formed by Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Kamal has described the first transitional period, after Hosni Mubarak, as “bad.”

Kamal said in a statement that Morsi’s initial promises in the prosecution and retrial of Mubarak-era officials have “evaporated.”

Meanwhile, deputy head of the Islamist Wasat Party Hatem Azzam has described the acquittal of Mubarak and the imprisoning of Morsi as a “forged birth certificate to the 30 June counter-revolution.”

Azzam said via Facebook that the youth of Egypt will write the death certificate of the counter-revolution “very soon” after they have learned from both their mistakes and achievements.

“Down with Hosni Mubarak,” he wrote reiterating the chants of the January 2011 revolution.

Nasserist politican and ex-presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said via Twitter in response to Mubarak's release that the only verdict to abide by is the "people's verdict that irreversibly removed Mubarak from power and history."

"This popular verdict will remain final and cannot be appealed," Sabbahi added.

Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood continues

The transitional government’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and their allies continue.

Early Wednesday, Egypt’s interior ministry announced the arrest of preacher Safwat Hegazy, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, in the vicinity of Siwa oasis, in Egypt’s Western Desert, near the border with Libya.

Hegazy has been charged in absentia on 7 August and referred to criminal court for allegedly attempting to detain and assault a low-rank police officer Mohamed Farouk during a pro-Morsi march in July.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the April 6 Youth Movement said "The preacher of secession and blood ran away in disguise instead of being on the frontlines."
Hegazy joins 36 other Brotherhood members arrested on Wednesday, including some leaders in the group.

In statements published in Al-Ahram Arabic news website earlier Wednesday, security sources said most of the detained work at the administrative offices of the Muslim Brotherhood. They have been arrested for their alleged involvement in recent bloody clashes, including at Al-Nahda Square in Giza, the same sources explained.

Egypt’s ‘roadmap’

Meanwhile, the interim government reiterated on Wednesday it has been methodically following Egypt’s “roadmap” to democracy as agreed upon by a range of political, national and religious leaders and the Egyptian army on 3 July despite recent violence.

Ali Awad, the head of a 10-member technical committee entrusted with amending the national charter, announced that the amended draft of Egypt’s 2012 constitution will be announced by Thursday or next Saturday.

"This draft is being revised to be issued in its initial form and before it is finally discussed by a 50-member committee representing all sectors of Egyptian society," Awad told parliamentary correspondents Wednesday.

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