An Egyptian court has ordered the release of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's two sons who had been sentenced to three years in jail for corruption. They had been convicted for embezzling millions.
The Cairo criminal court ordered Alaa and Gamal Mubarak to be released after having taken into account the time they had served on a corruption conviction since their arrest in April 2011, according to judicial official and defense lawyer Farid al-Deeb. The two Mubarak sons would, however, still await the outcome of an appeal in the case.
The two might still face charges in two separate cases involving insider trading and illicit gains but would not be held in custody while awaiting trial, judicial sources said.
A family behind bars
Gamal Mubarak had long been groomed as Hosni Mubarak's heir apparent and his brother Alaa was a wealthy businessman when Mubarak's regime crumbled.
Both had been convicted for embezzling millions in a corruption case, which had been dubbed the "presidential palaces" affair by the Egyptian media - two months after their father had stepped down
Their 87-year-old father remains held in a military hospital.
In May, a court had sentenced the trio to three years in prison each for having embezzled 125 million Egyptian pounds ($15.9 million) from funds, which had been meant for the maintenance of presidential palaces. They were fined that same amount plus an extra 21 million pounds in fines.
Their release is likely to present a dilemma for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief whom opponents accused of reviving Mubarak-era autocratic practices. Al-Sisi has faced accusations of being even more authoritarian than Mubarak.
ss/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)