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Retrial of Egypt's Mubarak increases chances for his release

By Marwa Yahia, Mahmoud Fouly (Xinhua)

11:26, January 14, 2013

CAIRO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Court of Cassation's decision to accept an appeal by ousted ex-President Hosni Mubarak and his former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli on Sunday, increases the chances for their release, experts say.

On June 2, 2012, Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Mubarak and Adli to life terms for charges of killing protesters in the 18-day popular unrest in early 2011, which left more than 800 dead. Yet, Adli's six top assistants were acquitted.

"The court decision means Mubarak could be released or his sentence could be reduced," Rashid al-Gindi, legal expert and member of Lawyers Syndicate, told Xinhua.

According to legal rules, "those who submit an appeal to the Court of Cassation cannot face a punishment worse than their last sentence," Gindi explained.

The defense team for Mubarak and Adli said the evidence was not enough to convict them for life sentence, arguing that the witnesses' testimonies were contradictory and it was easy for the court to approve the appeals.

The retrial will be held at a different criminal court, and the first session may start within three or four months, according to some legal experts.

Mubarak was close to be temporarily released based on the court 's decision on Sunday. However, he has to be remanded 15 days pending further investigation in a corruption case regarding gifts worth over one million U.S. dollars he allegedly received every year from state-run Al-Ahram newspaper from 2006 to 2011. Therefore, his way to temporary freedom is blocked.

"According to the law, the defendant could be released unless he is detained in other cases," said Gindi.

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