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Anger as Hosni Mubarak, deposed Egyptian president, walks free

A top appeals court cleared Mubarak earlier this month on charges of killing protesters in the 2011 uprising

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak at the Maadi military hospital in Cairo in October 2016 (AFP)

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president overthrown in 2011 and the first leader to face trial after the Arab Spring uprisings, walked free on Friday, his lawyer said.

He left the Maadi Military Hospital where he had been detained, heading to his home in Heliopolis.

But while the 88-year-old regained his freedom, critics were quick to highlight the irony that several key activists in the 2011 uprising are now serving lengthy jail terms. Rights groups say hundreds of others have been forcibly disappeared.

Others compared him with the current government:

Translation: Mubarak has become a sheep along with those who are ruling Egypt now

Harriet McCulloch, a deputy director at human rights organisation Reprieve, said: “As Hosni Mubarak goes free in Egypt, thousands of prisoners still languish in horrific prison conditions.

"Many face the death penalty on charges relating to protests, in mass trials that make a mockery of due process. Some were arrested as children – people like Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa, who has suffered terrible abuses in jail.

"The Sisi Government must now show that Egypt’s justice system is worthy of the name and release Ibrahim, and the hundreds like him," she said in a statement. 

A top appeals court cleared Mubarak earlier this month on charges of killing protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his 30 year rule. 

Some who participated in the protests against Mubarak said they felt the uprising was in vain.

"Honestly, I found that all of that was useless," said Ahmed Mohamed, 29.

Mohamed had been among the thousands of protesters who took to Cairo's Tahrir Square demanding Mubarak's fall.

"Mubarak's time was a lot better in all aspects," he said after the prosecution ordered Mubarak's release.

Mubarak heads for upscale neighbourhood

"Yes, he is now in his home in Heliopolis," Mubarak's lawyer, Farid El Deeb told Reuters when asked if Mubarak had left the hospital. Heliopolis is an upscale neighbourhood where the main presidential palace from which Mubarak once governed is located.

The 88-year-old was cleared of the final murder charges against him this month, after facing trial in a litany of cases ranging from corruption to the killing of protesters whose 18-day revolt stunned the world and ended his 30-year rule.

Mubarak was initially arrested in April 2011, two months after leaving office, and has since been held in prison and in military hospitals under heavy guard. 

He was sentenced to life in 2012 in the case, but an appeals court ordered a retrial which dismissed the charges two years later.

In January 2016, the appeals court upheld a three-year prison sentence for Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges.

But the sentence took into account time served. Both of his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were freed.

On Thursday, a court ordered a renewed corruption investigation into Mubarak for allegedly receiving gifts from the state owned Al-Ahram newspaper. 

About 850 people were killed in the 18-day uprising against the nearly 30-year rule of Mubarak. 

Cairo explosion

Also Friday, one man was killed and three others injured in an explosion in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The man who was killed, a building guard who was cleaning the property's garden, found "an unidentified metallic object." Upon handling it, it exploded, resulting in his death and the injury of his wife and two children by shrapnel, the statement said.

A security official inspects the scene of an explosionin the Cairo suburb of Maadi on 24 March (Reuters)

The injured have been moved to the hospital for treatment and the area had been cordoned off and is being combed by security forces, it added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.