Court overturns Mubarak life term, orders retrial

International

An appeals court on Sunday overturned Hosni Mubarak's life sentence and ordered a retrial of the ousted Egyptian president for failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that toppled his regime.

The ruling, read out by judge Ahmed Ali Abdel-Rahman, dredged back up the highly divisive issue of justice for the former leader and his top security officers in a country that remains mired in political turmoil and economic malaise nearly two years after Mubarak's fall.

Mubarak, who is currently being held in a military hospital, will not walk free with Sunday's court decision he will remain in custody while under investigation on charges in an unrelated case. The 84-year-old former president was reported last year to have been close to death, but the current state of his health is unknown.

The court did not provide the reasoning for its decision, but the grounds for granting the appeal were expected to be released later. No date has been set for the retrial.

The judge also ordered a retrial of Mubarak's former security chief, Habib el-Adly, convicted and sentenced to life in prison on the same charges. He also ordered the retrial of six of el-Adly's top aides who were acquitted in the same trial. Five of them were found not guilty of involvement in the killing of the protesters, while one was acquitted of "gross negligence.'' No date was set for their retrial either.

It also granted the prosecution's request to overturn not-guilty verdicts on Mubarak, his two sons and an associate of the former president, Hussein Salem, on corruption charges. Salem was tried in absentia and remains at large to this day.

A small crowd of Mubarak loyalists in the courtroom erupted with applause and cheers after the ruling was read out. Holding portraits of the former president aloft, they broke into chants of "Long live justice.''

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