Report: Mubarak taken from prison to house arrest

(CNN) — Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, left prison Thursday for a military hospital where he’ll be under house arrest, state-run media outlet Al-Ahram reported.

A court ordered Mubarak released this week, but Egypt’s military issued a decree to place Mubarak under house arrest while he awaits a retrial on charges of inciting violence against protesters during the 2011 uprising, Egyptian media reported.

The 85-year-old Mubarak had been held since shortly after he was removed from power in 2011. He was convicted last year on charges of inciting violence against protesters during the popular uprising that led to his ouster.

He was sentenced to life in prison but appealed, and a retrial was granted early this year. Wednesday, the court ordered Mubarak’s release because he has been held past the maximum time he can be detained before being convicted.

His release comes as Egypt’s interim military government extended its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday, arresting the group’s spokesman, state-run television al-Masriya reported.

Ahmed Arif is the latest key member of the group to be taken into custody.

Earlier in the week, the military arrested Mohamed Badie, the group’s spiritual leader, and Safwat Hegazy, a preacher and hardline supporter of the movement. They were among about 100 members of the Muslim Brotherhood taken into custody on Tuesday.

President Mohamed Morsy, who was removed from power by the military amid widespread protest over his rule, has been held since early July.

Egypt has been in turmoil since Morsy’s removal from office, with the military battling Muslim Brotherhood members and other Morsy supporters.

Over the past week, about 900 people — security personnel as well as citizens — have been killed. The deaths occurred when the military used force to clear two pro-Morsy sit-in sites in Cairo on Wednesday last week and violence raged after pro-Morsy supporters staged demonstrations Friday.

Mubarak’s release is an an “extraordinary development” and a “potent symbol,” said Robin Wright, a Middle East analyst with the Woodrow Wilson Center.

But the impact could be muted by the long list of worries Egyptians are already dealing with on the ground — violence, curfews, economic woes.

“It may not play as big there as it does here,” she said.

Mubarak ruled Egypt, the most populous Arab country, for three decades under an autocratic system marked by widespread human rights abuses. He was forced from power in 2011 after demonstrators opposing his rule took to the streets as part of the Arab Spring revolutions across Africa and the Middle East.

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