Egyptian officials say sons of ousted President freed from prison

Their release comes a day after violent clashes between protesters and police left at least 18 people dead and dozens wounded

CAIRO – The two sons of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were released from prison Monday, nearly four years after they were first arrested along with their father, authorities said.

Security officials said the two, wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak’s one-time heir apparent Gamal, walked free from Torah Prison in a southern Cairo suburb shortly after daybreak and headed to their respective homes in the capital’s upscale Heliopolis suburb.

The two, along with their father, still face a retrial on corruption charges. Separately, the two sons also face trial on insider trading charges. They had been acquitted of other charges.

Mubarak, 86 and ailing, stepped down in February 2011 in the face of a popular uprising. He and his two sons were arrested in April that year. Mubarak remains at a military hospital in a southern suburb of Cairo although there are no longer any legal grounds for his detention.

The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.

The release of the two had been expected since a Cairo court ordered their release on bail Thursday.

The Mubarak sons were sentenced to four years in prison on charges of using state funds to renovate family residencies. Their father got three years in the case. The sentences were overturned earlier this month.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for failing to prevent the killing of some 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising against his rule. That verdict also was overturned on appeal. He was retried but the case was dismissed last month on a technicality.

Mubarak’s sons walked free a day after deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and police marked the fourth anniversary of the uprising that ended their father’s 29-year rule. That violence Sunday left at least 18 people dead, including two men authorities said died planting a bomb and three police officers, and wounded dozens.

The two, particularly Gamal, are viewed by many Egyptians as among the pillars of an authoritarian and corrupt administration that struck an alliance with mega-wealthy businessmen at the expense of the nation’s poor and disadvantaged.

Mubarak was widely believed to have been grooming Gamal to succeed him. The two consistently denied that, but the perceived succession plan, along with corruption, police brutality and poverty, were among the main causes of the 2011 uprising.

The release of the two sons could spark further protests and would certainly fuel the notion among the secular and liberal activists behind the 2011 uprising that the Mubarak regime has been making a comeback since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a general-turned-politician, took office in June.

The shooting deaths of two female protesters over the weekend have stoked renewed anger over the police’s use of excessive force and created an uproar among rights activists. The death of one of the two, a 32-year-old mother of a small boy, was captured on several videos that, activists and witnesses claim, point to the police as the perpetrators. Authorities say they are investigating the incident.

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