Mubarak sons leave prison pending Egypt retrial: state media

A file picture taken on June 2, 2012, shows Alaa Mubarak (centre), son of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, arriving to a courtroom during his verdict hearing in Cairo. Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal (not in picture), were freed from prison on
A file picture taken on June 2, 2012, shows Alaa Mubarak (centre), son of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, arriving to a courtroom during his verdict hearing in Cairo. Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal (not in picture), were freed from prison on Jan 23, 2015, pending a corruption retrial, Egyptian state media reported. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - Two sons of Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak seen as symbols of his era's corruption were freed from prison on Friday pending a graft retrial, state media reported.

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak left jail early Friday after a court ordered their release because they had served the maximum pretrial detention, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website.

Mubarak, who was unseated in Egypt's 2011 uprising, was convicted by a lower court on corruption charges with his two sons last year, with Alaa and Gamal receiving four-year sentences.

Their charges included embezzling at least US$16 million (S$21 million) earmarked for the maintenance of presidential palaces.

The retrial of the former leader and his two sons was ordered this month and their lawyer Farid al-Deeb said at the time that the elder Mubarak, who is in a military hospital, would also be a free man.

But state media reported there had been no orders yet for his release and there have been no signs of the 86-year-old leaving the hospital.

The release of the Mubaraks 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 Mursi - in 2013 and won an election with massive support last year.

But he has faced accusations of being even more authoritarian than Mubarak, unleashing a crackdown on Morsi supporters that has killed at least 1,400 people.

The release of the Mubaraks so close to the January 25 anniversary of the 2011 revolt risks antagonising government critics.