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Top Court Orders Mubarak Released
August 19, 2013

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Familiar names and conditions have Egypt in the grip of a rollback, as a top court has ordered the release of former President Hosni Mubarak and the interim government has reintroduced a version of the dreaded emergency laws that so enraged protesters two years ago.

Mubarak, who fled from power in the face of overwhelming opposition in early 2011, was convicted in security forces' attacks on unarmed civilians and sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this year, a top court ordered a retrial. Mubarak, meanwhile, has been quite ill and has awaited his new trial in a military hospital.

The interim government, headed by Adly Mansour and overseen by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, has brought back a law that gives security forces the right to detain protesters without guaranteeing them a trial. Mansour has ruled as interim president since the army's removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July. His government insists that the new law will be on the books for only a month.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's main opposition force for so many years, has found itself again in opposition, after the army suspended the constitution that had been approved by a majority of the elected Parliament and a majority of eligible voters nationwide. Members of the Brotherhood have staged large street protests in the face of government vows to make the crowds disperse. In one such coordinated ouster last week, security forces killed nearly 1,000 protesters and injured hundreds more. Brotherhood protests continued across Cairo.

In a further sign that the government is targeting the Brotherhood, security forces arrested Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood's spiritual leader. Morsi has not been seen or heard from since being taken into custody. Dozens of his supporters have died in police custody.

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