Exclusive to The Middle East Online – Mubarak cleared of protestor deaths

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Egypt’s former ruler Hosni Mubarak has been cleared of criminal charges by a Cairo judge and could soon be released, according to press reports from the Egyptian capital. A Cairo judge dismissed charges linking Mubarak, who ruled Egypt as president for 29 years, to the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolt and found him not guilty of corruption. Mubarak was convicted in 2012 of issuing orders to kill peaceful protesters during the country’s 2011 uprising and was sentenced to life in prison. He appealed and was granted a new trial last year. Also acquitted were Mubarak’s former Interior Minister Habib El Adly and six of El Adly’s aides, also accused of being connected to the deaths of 239 protesters as security forces cracked down in 2011. Mubarak’s two sons also were acquitted Saturday of corruption. Explaining his decision, Judge Mahmoud El Rashidy said he had dropped charges against Mubarak because Cairo Criminal Court did not have the jurisdiction to try him for the protesters’ deaths. The judge said the case that prosecutors initially referred to the court listed only El Adly and his aides as defendants — not Mubarak himself. In May, the former president and his sons Gamal and Alaa were convicted of embezzling $18 million, allocated for the renovation of presidential palaces and sentenced to four years each. The Mubaraks have always insisted they are not guilty. Given the latest legal decision, the general feeling is that the ailing 86-year-old former president’s release from prison will be sooner, rather than later, once time he has already spent in custody has been taken into consideration. ___

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