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Mubarak to be Released Amid Growing Calls to Suspend Aid

EU officials meet Monday to 'urgently review' aid package to Egypt

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

As violence continues to rage across Egypt between the state-run military and the largely Muslim Brotherhood pro-Morsi factions, reports reveal Monday that ousted President Hosni Mubarak will be released in the next two days—a move likely to be interpreted by many as a "political" ploy in these "very volatile circumstances."

Lawyers for ousted Mubarak announced Monday that he will be released from jail in the next 48 hours after being cleared in a corruption case, Reuters reports.

In reaction to the news, the Guardian's Middle East editor Ian Black noted that "in these very, very volatile circumstances after the overthrow of Morsi, Mubarak’s release will be interpreted as a political and not a judicial move."

"It doesn’t really matter what the legal reason is but the prosecutor who apparently made the decision is an old regime prosecution figure who had been replaced during the period that Morsi was in office," he continued. "It’s fairly clear that there’s going to be some pretty angry reactions to the decision against the wider context of everything else that’s going on."

Adding that "it seems the country is back where it started," FireDogLake's Daniel Wright notes, "So Mubarak will be free as protesters are being massacred in the streets and killed in custody – some revolution Egypt has had."

Correspondents on the ground continued to provide updates via Twitter:

Condemning the violence which has killed nearly 1000 individuals since Wednesday's military massacre of pro-Morsi protesters, European officials announced Sunday intentions to "urgently review" their support of the government in light of the ongoing tensions in the country.

The Guardian reports:

EU foreign ministers are expected to meet in Brussels this week to discuss Egypt after the presidents of the European council and European commission, Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, warned jointly on Sunday that further escalation could have "unpredictable consequences". The EU had pledged almost €5bn (£4.2bn) in loans and grants for 2012-2013.

In a statement they said the EU would "urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt".

"We regret deeply that international efforts and proposals for building bridges and establishing an inclusive political process ... were set aside and a course of confrontation was instead pursued," they added.

As other western countries begin to speak out, the spotlight continues to intensify on the roughly $1.6 billion given annually to the country in U.S. aid, including $1.3 billion in sophisticated weaponry.

On Sunday, warhawk and former presidential rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized President Barack Obama for "not sticking to our values," for his failure to follow through on a threat to cut off aid if there was a military coup in Egypt.

Since the 1978 Camp David accords, the U.S. has continually funneled aid to Egypt as a means of maintaining a regional ally for Israel.

On Monday, following the EU's announcement, an unnamed Israeli official criticized the proposed aid withdrawal saying, "The name of the game right now is not democracy."

Further, the Guardian reports, "Sunday's [Egyptian] state TV broadcasts – tagged with an 'Egypt fighting terrorism' logo – ran repeated interviews with citizens agreeing with the government's rejection of foreign involvement."

Meanwhile, the military crackdown against Morsi supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood continues to intensify.

News Sunday night reported that 38 members of the Brotherhood were "assassinated" after taking a military police officer hostage during an attempted jailbreak from a transport truck headed to Abu Zaabal prison in northern Egypt.

Further, the Associated Press reports that "hundreds" of Brotherhood members were arrested Sunday throughout the country as security officials conducted home raids "aimed at disrupting planned rallies in support of Morsi."


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