An Egyptian court dropped on Monday (August 19) a corruption charge against Hosni Mubarak, the president ousted in the 2011 uprising, a ruling his lawyer said would clear the way to his release from jail soon.

Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years, was arrested soon after his overthrow and became the first Arab leader to face trial. In scenes that captivated Arabs, the octogenarian appeared in a courtroom cage to face charges that ranged from corruption to complicity in the murder of protesters.

More than a year on, the only legal grounds for Mubarak's continued detention rest on another corruption case which his lawyer, Fareed el-Deeb, said would be settled swiftly.

Without confirming that Mubarak would be freed, a judicial source said the former leader would spend at least another two weeks behind bars before the criminal court made a final decision in the outstanding corruption case against him.

That case related to gifts that Mubarak is accused of accepting during his presidency. Mubarak has recently repaid money equivalent to the value of those gifts, meaning he could potentially be freed though the court could choose to extend his sentence on other grounds or come up with new cases.

Mubarak, along with his interior minister, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of protesters in the revolt that swept him from power.

He still faces a retrial in that case after appeals from the prosecution and defence, but this would not require him to stay in jail.

Presented by Adam Justice

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