Egypt awaits Mubarak release from jail, house arrest

Egyptians awaited Thursday the possible release of ex-president Hosni Mubarak after a court ordered he be freed pending his re-trial on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters, and other crimes.

It was not clear if and when the 85-year-old Mubarak might leave jail, but the country's interim prime minister has already ordered that he then be placed under house arrest.

On Wednesday, a court ordered that Mubarak be freed while he stands trial for corruption and in connection with the deaths of some of the 850 people killed in the popular uprising that ousted him in 2011.

The decision to free Mubarak added a volatile new element to the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since his successor, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a July 3 coup, with 1,000 people killed in violence in the past week.

Last year, Mubarak was convicted on the complicity and corruption charges and sentenced to life in prison.

He appealed, and a retrial was ordered.

Even if he is released, he still faces those charges, and his next hearing is scheduled for Sunday.

Under interim prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi's order, Mubarak would be confined to his home, possibly a residence in Cairo or in the Rea Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"In the framework of the emergency law, the deputy military ruler ordered Mubarak to be placed under house arrest," a cabinet statement said.