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Inside Story

Egypt: A return to the old regime?

We examine how the former President Hosni Mubarak's release from jail will play out in the country.

Last Modified: 24 Aug 2013 11:07
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After more than two years in jail, Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak has been released.

Mubarak should have been released four months ago and any claim that Mubarak has been released for political reasons is based on the lack of understanding of Egyptian law where you cannot provisionally arrest somebody pending trial for longer than 24 months.

Hisham Kassem, a journalist

Some say it is the strongest sign yet of a return to the old regime and the so-called deep state, while others argue it is a separate issue for the courts and his legal problems may not end there.

Mubarak is now under house arrest after having spent his first night out of prison being treated in a military hospital in Cairo.

His release comes after a tumultuous few weeks in Egypt, and it has raised doubts over whether the country's interim leadership has the will to pursue the case against him.

When Egyptians revolted against Mubarak in 2011, it reflected their unhappiness with government corruption and police brutality.

So now his release is being seen by some as a sign the military is rolling back the changes that were achieved.

It started with a military coup that deposed Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, though the coup had support from some Egyptians.

Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over.

He recognised an interim civilian government that would oversee a 'roadmap' to new elections but it is widely believed el-Sisi is the man calling the shots.

This is completely politicised, it's been a flawed process judicially ... this really goes to the heart of who really is wielding the strings of power within Egypt.

Abdullah al-Arian, an assistant professor of History

And in the last two weeks, Egypt has seen the return of state security and police to the streets.

Around 1,000 civilians have been killed in clashes.

And the interim government has launched a massive crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, saying they are considering disbanding the group.

So, how significant is the timing of Hosni Mubarak's release from prison? And does it signify a return to the old regime?

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Hisham Kassem, a journalist and former publisher of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper; Sarah el-Tantawi, a professor of Comparative Religion and fellow in Arab Studies at the University of California, Berkley; Abdullah al-Arian, an assistant professor of History at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Doha.

"I think that it is the expected outcome of an extremely flawed trial that has been going on for two years. The public prosecutor has not sufficiently heard or accepted the realms of evidence against Mubarak that could have strengthened the case. So from the very beginning this trial was too soft .... 

"I think that this is clearly a sign of the counter-revolution but I think the most important point is that this is a counter-revolution not against the Muslim Brotherhood, but against the revolution and those are two different things and I think that that complexity is extremely important."

Sarah el-Tantawi, a fellow in Arab Studies at the University of California

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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