The Cairo Court of Appeals released Zakariya Azmy, former president Hosni Mubarak’s chief of staff, on Wednesday, after accepting the appeal filed by his lawyer against the seven-year prison sentence he received for illicit gains.
Gamal Saeed, Azmy’s lawyer, demanded his release based on Article 143 of the criminal procedures law, which states that a prisoner cannot be held in custody for more than 18 months while investigations are carried out.
Azmy spent around 21 months in custody after being imprisoned on 27 May 2011.
However, investigations into the accusations of illicit gains will continue. Until they are concluded, Azmy will not be allowed to leave Egypt.
Azmy is accused of illicitly gaining EGP 598m during his tenure as chief of staff and as a member of the People’s Assembly.
Amr Emam, a human rights lawyer, explained that the prosecutor general and the public prosecution authority have the right to release prisoners being investigated with or without a bail charge. “The prosecutor general keeps on releasing former regime figures for free, but at the same time he puts high financial constraints on revolutionary figures held in custody to release them,” Emam stated.
Emam predicted that Azmy will be sentenced to a period of imprisonment shorter than the original seven-year sentence.