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Court Overturns Life Sentence Against Egypt's Mubarak; Orders Retrial

Egyptians supporters of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak celebrate an appeal granted by a court in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday.
Amr Nabil
Egyptians supporters of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak celebrate an appeal granted by a court in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday.

An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat.

The decision to retry the strongman who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership.

Mubarak and his security chief Habib el-Adly will be tried again on criminal charges related to the killing of some 1,000 demonstrators during the 2011 uprising that forced the president's ouster. Adly's six deputies, who held key positions and were all acquitted, will also be retried.

The court also granted a request to overturn not-guilty verdicts on corruption charges against Mubarak, his two sons and a business associate, Hussein Salem.

No date has been set for the new trial, but the news seemed welcomed by both Mubarak loyalists and his most ardent opponents. Mubarak loyalists saw the trial as a witch hunt against the former leader; his opponents were angry that Mubarak wasn't held fully responsible for the deaths of the protesters during the 18 days of anti-regime demonstrations.

During the trial, prosecutors lamented that they were unable to build a proper case because security bodies wouldn't cooperate. Adly led the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of Egypt's police; many believe the security institutions are still quite loyal to officials of the former regime.

The court decision on Sunday came a day after Mubarak was ordered detained on separate accusations that he and others in the regime received millions of dollars in gifts from the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

Our Original Post Continues:

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is getting a retrial on charges connected to the killing of protesters during the country's uprising, NPR's Leila Fadel reports. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison last June.

Fadel says supporters are gathering outside the hospital where Mubarak is being treated. Opponents who thought the sentence wasn't enough are also welcoming the news. She tells our Newscast Desk:

"Mubarak, his minister of Interior, Habib el-Adly, and Adly's deputies will all be tried again, an Egyptian court ruled [Sunday]. Mubarak and Adli were previously given a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of some 1,000 demonstrators. Adly's deputies were all acquitted.

"Many Egyptians felt the trial was filled with problems and the sentences were not strong enough.

"The defendant's lawyers appealed the sentences and Egypt's general prosecutor appealed the acquittals."

Fadel says Mubarak would have been released from the hospital on Sunday, but he is being detained for an investigation into separate charges.

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Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.