Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Leaves Prison

The ailing and ousted leader was flown to a military hospital in Cairo.
16:41 | 08/22/13

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Transcript for Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Leaves Prison
This is a special report from ABC news. Good morning -- bananas in New York with an ABC news digital special report Hosni Mubarak the Egyptian dictator ousted from power. During an uprising two years ago is out of jail. He was flown out of prison just a few moments ago according to the Egyptian government we're joined now by ABC's -- different in London. To who's been following this story to tell us more nick Howard egyptians reacting to his release. Well I think it's a little early for that but last night this morning when the rumors began that he might be released. I think there's a lot of people outside that prison right now who are in support of him. One is quoted by the Associated Press -- this country is lost without him but a lot of other people. Throughout Egypt right now are pretty shocked especially the Muslim Brotherhood. They were in opposition under Mubarak. For thirty years. They of course led the government. Up until the recent coup by the military. In Egypt and there's a lot of people screaming bloody murder and that -- saying look more evidence that the old regime is -- that this is not about democracy and all this is not even about the military or the new government the old regime is coming back and a lot of them are accusing this government this military appointed government of trying to take steps back into the -- Mubarak era. So is the move by the military to place him under house arrest immediately. More of a reaction to what how people they perceive what's going not or because -- is a legitimate flight risk. Well I think a little bit of both first technically he is still. Wanted Hillary is still accused. Having some complicity in that in the deaths of about 900 people. During the initial uprising that actually overthrew him in January. 2011 so he's not a free man entirely I and he will be back in court next week so there was some fear. That he wouldn't show back up in court and therefore he has to be under house arrest. But of course part of this is PR the military wants to. Once -- at least it says that it wants to relax tensions it wants to trying get. Back to a conversation. Between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government between the various parties in Egypt right now that are so polarized. And trying get back to that table in order to do so they have to say look. Mubarak might have to be released according to the courts -- but at least he's not really going to be released he's not going to be a free man. Don't worry he's not allowed to campaign he won't be out in about giving speeches he's going to be under house arrest so in some ways there's no change. From what he's been doing in the past. But obviously for him and his family. He's now free at least temporarily. And able to be at home -- worries being taken now -- military hospital his health is pretty fragile. Let's go back and talk about his sentence saying and what has happened since then he was sentenced to life in prison. However the charges against him were watch. Yet this particular freedom in this particular freedom of art comes from a case in regards to corruption. He was accused of a lot of things after he was -- -- and and his lawyers say. Look all of the appeals are done with this particular case involving corruption but as I said he is accused of something much larger which is helping kill. 900 people while the uprising began while the initial uprising. And an early 2011 began and he is still very much a polarizing figure in Egypt part of this government especially the interior ministry. The police and to a certain extent. Much of the army are definitely. Pro regime as they're still called in Egypt definitely still. Wishing that they had Mubarak or at least remnants of the old regime. The Muslim brotherhood of course they won the last election they were democratically elected and now overthrown. By the military who is installed the government so Mubarak is still very much. Part of the scene and part of this very -- and democracy. And is still polarizing. From all parts and so the military really wanted to make sure that in this particular case regardless. A corruption case or whatever the details -- that he was not going to be. -- let free truly that he was not gonna just appear in public. And therefore the house arrest until he's back in court next week. All right -- just stay with us we are very new -- get back to just a moment but we want to bring in Mohammed Lee left -- is in tahrir square. Right now out in Cairo Mohammed what is the -- like this. Well it just look at how quickly things have changed and unsteady camera in front top -- square. This was that iconic symbol of Egypt's revolution two years ago poured millions of people took to the streets to overthrow Hosni Mubarak. And look at where we are now today Hosni Mubarak is now out of prison and the military is effectively in control of this country. And what you see behind me it doesn't seem like there are any protest and there is a whole lot of anger on the streets despite today's stunning development. So he is still a man who is facing charges of complicity in mass murder he can still face a sentence of life in prison. But dude that people really believe that is going to happen now that he's been released pending his new trial. Well there are few things to keep in mind number one Hosni Mubarak is in his mid eighties he's in very frail health. In fact he's been in frail health the last few years when he was released from the prison today he wasn't released to a guest house or to one of the properties that he -- here in Egypt. He was released two a medical center a hospital essentially. In -- he which is. A suburb of Cairo. So that's where he's gonna stay for the next foreseeable future and apparently were told this is made it his request that you requested. To be released to that hospital. Now you mentioned he does have those -- -- against him. Things are still very much in flux right now we know that some of the charges have been. You know eliminated some have been thrown out also there was a maximum period of time that a person under this new Egyptian government or rather the previous Egyptian government. Was allowed to remain behind bars and I believe that was eighteen months so there are a lot of things in flux right now could he go back to prison we don't know. What's -- -- of -- set -- his -- we just don't know what we do know is that they're still travel -- and some people might think that this is a precursor to -- Mubarak leave the country. Well -- the interior ministry the interim interior ministry has put down a travel ban and put him effectively under house arrest. Or in this case under hospital arrest so it's not expected that he'll be leaving the country at least anytime soon. Is there as segment a good segment of the population that was welcomed his return to power if that. Would be about possible. You know this is a very good question I think this is very good time to take a litmus test of where the Egyptian revolution stands right now -- It's a greater part of the day. Talking to people and say it was what do you think about posting a barking really released -- -- Italian on the one hand. You had some people who said you know they think this will lead to more bloodshed. They think that this will do all of the gains that the egyptians have made since the revolution since ousting Hosni Mubarak from power. But there were also a number of others who essentially responded with a collective shrug of the shoulders and say. You know what. It's no big deal frost in the -- to be released and at this point nobody really season. Coming back to power although the symbolic the idea of the symbolism of Mubarak -- being released. Isn't lost on them. You gotta remember that this is a place that has gone through weeks and weeks of turmoil they've seen more bloodshed in these last few weeks and they saw. During the course of the revolution hundreds of people -- possibly thousands of people died. And there's a really strong sense right now the people here just want things return to normal and some people say you know if that means -- in the -- is released then -- -- it. Interesting what about the Muslim Brotherhood have they. Issued an official response is there been any reaction from them. We haven't yet seen an official response and part of the reason for that is because most of the senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Are now in hiding or they have been arrested every day we're getting use of more senior members being arrested there's an interest -- -- all this you know hosting a bar clamp down on the Muslim Brotherhood. For thirty years arresting them forcing them underground. Putting through putting them through all sorts of persecution the revolution happened post in the markets removed from power the Muslim Brotherhood gets elected to power. Two years later it's the Muslim Brotherhood leaders who are now back in prison in fact. The the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood the elected leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed -- the had been staying in the same prison as Hosni Mubarak. Now -- he is the one who's still in prison and Mubarak is -- so we just shows you that ironic twist here how quickly -- pendulum has shifted back the other way. It's interesting with with. Mubarak out of prison you have to wonder many egyptians -- was this all. Even worth it what did we gain after the Arab Spring given that there is still so much more -- and as you sent more bloodshed now than ever. And we've been speaking to ordinary egyptians on the streets -- on some days breaking news to them that hosting the bar has been released. We spoke to young -- yesterday very articulate young person you know who represents Egypt's future Egypt's hope for a democracy. -- hopes to play a stable positive role in what is otherwise a very volatile region. Did -- was shocked that Mubarak was released and he said you know he expects that there could be a second revolution because of this and he was very afraid. That the limited gains egyptians have been made since the last revolution. May now be taken away -- -- -- -- extremists analysis of course because again there's no evidence that Mubarak is coming back to power. But there is an element here -- society that's very worried because you know if you just look at the optics of this so many people died during the course of the Egyptian revolution. Fighting for democracy they were committed to overthrowing and getting Mevorach out of power for the last thirty years that he ran in this country. They finally accomplish that. But now he's back out and you might not be back on the streets walking around and he's been released. And so there -- a lot of people now that are just so disillusioned with what happened. And asking that very legitimate question was it all worth it. All right Mohamed standby force if you -- we want to bring back in makeshift friend to give us an update on any US reaction clearly this has been. A series of events outside of the control of the United States -- they have -- key interest in the and their ally and Egypt and your reaction from the White House yet. -- it's it's too early to say that there's any reaction or or even that whether the White House the State Department will actually specifically respond. To the release but I think. We can look at US policy toward Egypt over the last few weeks. Last few months and indeed since the original revolution. Not much of the White House who put it this way the but really need clear message that the US is giving is we care more about stability. Then democracy. And and if that continues if that policy continues. Then yes as Mohamed Hussein. If there are people on the streets who believe that Mubarak's police will increase. DR -- destabilize Egypt. Then the US will try and step in north think about stepping in behind the scenes but in reality. I think that -- the the pro Mubarak people. Have remained. Inside of the government inside the interior ministry inside the police. Since since he was overthrown. And that tension. Between them between the army between the Muslim Brotherhood. Existed for a year and a half after the revolution and certainly continues to exist. After that horrible violence as -- saying that we have seen in the last few weeks so in reality it's very hard to predict what happens in Egypt but it doesn't seem to be that that there will be an obvious uptick in violence are an obvious. Response on the streets for Mubarak's been released because the tensions. Between Mubarak supporters and onto our exporters. Between the Muslim brother had in the current government and the opposition. Will remain regardless. Whether -- in jail. Or in -- hospital where we don't see him much so we're still monitoring US response to so far. Nothing yet. Now we you know we have -- reiterate how sick she is and how unlikely it would be that he himself would return to power but clearly. He has a lot of key support in people who -- are still within the military as you said and and the the current interim government. Yeah and especially the police and the interior ministry. In in some ways the crackdown that we saw on the streets of Cairo. Police. With the military's health and certainly sanctioned. Crack down into these Muslim Brotherhood you know we called them camps we call them -- -- really as mom and those they were there were small cities. And so the military the police went in there that was -- part of the conflict has been going on for decades because the police are dominated. By pro Mubarak supporters. And we've been seeking that happened when Mubarak first came to power and 35 years later thirty someone years later when we see Muslim Brotherhood who water and power being thrown out of the streets and being mowed down by machine guns in the streets of Cairo. And so with Mubarak out yes of course there will be people itching for him to become public I think on FaceBook. There was this bizarre. Photo of him. -- for campaign poster running for reelection or running. For office and -- fourteen but the tensions. That existed between pro and anti Mubarak people have been there for a long time there will continue to be there regardless of where he has. And I want to bring Mohammed in on this point -- you kind of described -- tahrir square right now that is perhaps. Little bit tired. All the commotion in the violence that has been going on do you sense that there is. The will to return to protest given the ease the tensions between all of these factions -- -- the release -- it. The symbol of the past the bar. Well let's just recap by the violence over the last week here -- -- pension. Some people call the violence a bloodbath but massacre there's no question. In some cases unarmed people who were simply out protesting got caught up the violence many shot in the back hander in the chest that all happened last week. The Muslim Brotherhood. Friday Saturday Sunday was calling for mass protests for the people who were affected by that -- -- we're all expecting. That there would be waves of violence heating to keep hitting the city and hitting many cities here in Egypt. That's simply didn't happen the Muslim Brotherhood was putting out these calls. But for whatever reasons were not yet sure why exactly. -- followers were not responding to those calls so there's big question now. As to whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood is actually lost its ability to mobilize its supporters. You you can't forget Egypt. Has never really had a flourishing democracy even when the Muslim Brotherhood was in power it was still very fledgling democracy. It didn't have time for those democratic -- to take shape the Muslim Brotherhood strength through all of this has always been its ability in the we -- apply -- to get its supporters to flood into the streets to send a message that you know they have popular support. What if they have now lost that ability to get their followers -- into the streets it could. In many ways spell the end of the Muslim Brotherhood at least in this incarnation as we know it. Is -- they -- what -- protesters onto the streets and other groups for example at the time abroad. Which was its remote instrumental in ousting Mohammed Morse is the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. -- the -- -- can now prove that they can fill that void and they can get their supporters into the streets and the military can get pro military. Supporters into the streets. And effectively. The Muslim Brotherhood me and -- go underground and we may not see them surface for quite some time. Right interesting perspective I want to thank behind -- -- and -- and of course it's different environment as well thank you both for joining us. And he can of course keep up with the latest right here on for now I'm -- Hernandez in New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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