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Egyptian Court Orders Mubarak's Release

Former President Hosni Mubarak sits inside a dock at the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo in April.
Egyptian state television reports that a Cairo court has ordered the conditional release of former President Hosni Mubarak.

It was immediately unclear if and when he will be released.

Judge Ahmed el-Bahrawi, who is overseeing the case, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the ruling "is final and the prosecution cannot appeal against it."

State news agency MENA said that the August 21 decision could not be appealed because it was issued by an appeals court.

However, in the past, when courts have approved Mubarak's release, prosecutors have leveled new charges to keep him in detention.

The decision regards a case in which Mubarak was charged with accepting gifts from a state-owned media company.

Before the ruling, Mubarak's lawyer Fareed el-Deeb said he would argue his client should be freed because the former leader paid back the $600,000 he received.

Courts have already ordered his conditional release in three other cases since April.

The cases involved another corruption charge and his alleged involvement in ordering the killing of protesters during the popular uprising in February 2011. Mubarak's regime was toppled as a result of the uprising.

An appeal against his conviction for the killings was upheld and his retrial began in May, but Mubarak's conditional release was ordered because he had served the maximum allowable time in pretrial detention.

Mubarak, 85, has been held since April 2011. He is currently jailed at Tora Prison outside Cairo.

Senior members of ousted President Muhammad Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement have been held in the same facility since they were arrested after Morsi was forced out of office and detained by the military on July 3.

The country is under a state of emergency amid the bloodshed following the interim authorities' crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood-led protests against Morsi's ouster.

More than 840 people were killed and thousands injured during the 18-day popular revolt that ousted Mubarak in February 2011.

EU Slams Violence, Maintains Aid

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers have condemned the recent violence in Egypt but stopped short of halting aid.

At a meeting in Brussels on August 21, EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton said the ministers agreed to review EU assistance, but she stressed that aid for the most vulnerable and civil society will continue.

She said EU members agreed to suspend sales of weapons or equipment that could be used for internal repression.

Ashton called on all sides to begin talks to avoid further bloodshed.

She said the ministers strongly condemned the disproportionate use of force by the Egyptian security forces but also violence by some of those who oppose to the military-installed authorities.

With reporting by AFP, BBC, Reuters, AP, and BBC
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