Egyptian security officials on Sunday said the release of Alaa and Gamal Mubarak pending a corruption retrial had been delayed, after state media reported they had walked free from prison.
Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s two sons have been released from prison pending a retrial, the interior minister said Monday, four years after their arrest following an uprising that toppled their father.
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak — symbols of corruption during their father’s three-decade rule — were ordered free by a court ahead of the January 25 anniversary of the 2011 revolt that overthrew the longtime leader.
State media reported on Friday they had left prison but Egyptian security officials on Sunday said their release had been delayed.
“They were released and they are currently free,” Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters at a press conference on Monday, a day after Egypt marked the fourth anniversary of the anti-Mubarak revolt.
When asked when the two brothers were actually released, Ibrahim said: “How does it concern you when they were released?”
The court’s ruling to release them pending a retrial in a graft case sparked furious reactions from many in Egypt who viewed the Mubarak sons as symbols of corruption.
Prison officials said on Sunday that the brother’s release had been delayed at the last minute to avoid further angering opponents of the new government.
Alaa and Gamal were ordered free because they had served the maximum pretrial detention pending a retrial.
Charges against them included embezzling at least $16 million (14 million euros) earmarked for the maintenance of presidential palaces.
The release of the Mubaraks so close to the anniversary of the 2011 revolt presents a dilemma for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief whom opponents accuse of reviving Mubarak-era practices.
Sisi took power after ousting Egypt’s first post-revolution leader — Islamist president Mohamed Morsi — in 2013 and won an election with massive support