Cairo – Two sons of Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak seen as symbols of his era’s corruption were freed from prison on Friday pending a graft retrial, state media reported.
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak left jail early on Friday after a court ordered their release because they had served the maximum pre-trial detention, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website.
Mubarak, who was unseated in Egypt’s 2011 uprising, was convicted by a lower court on corruption charges with his two sons last year, with Alaa and Gamal receiving four-year sentences.
Their charges included embezzling at least $16m earmarked for the maintenance of presidential palaces.
The retrial of the former leader and his two sons was ordered this month and their lawyer Farid al-Deeb said at the time that the elder Mubarak, who is in a military hospital, would also be a free man.
But state media reported there had been no orders yet for his release and there have been no signs of the 86-year-old leaving the hospital.
The release of the Mubaraks presents a dilemma for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief whom opponents accuse of reviving Mubarak-era practices.
Sisi took power after ousting Egypt’s first post-revolution leader – Islamist president Mohammed Morsi – in 2013 and won an election with massive support last year.
But he has faced accusations of being even more authoritarian than Mubarak, unleashing a crackdown on Morsi supporters that has killed at least 1 400 people.
The release of the Mubaraks so close to the 25 January anniversary of the 2011 revolt risks antagonising government critics.