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Egyptian appeals court overturns Mubarak's life sentence, orders retrial (+video)

An Egyptian court has not yet provided the reasoning behind its decision to overturn former President Hosni Mubarak's life sentence and order a retrial of the ousted leader. The ruling reignites the divisive issue of the fate of the former leader in a country still filled with political turmoil.

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An appeals court on Sunday overturned Hosni Mubarak's life sentence and ordered a retrial of the ousted Egyptian president for failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that toppled his regime.

The ruling, read out by judge Ahmed Ali Abdel-Rahman, dredged back up the highly divisive issue of justice for the former leader — and his top security officers — in a country that remains mired in political turmoil and economic malaise nearly two years after Mubarak's fall.

Mubarak, who is currently being held in a military hospital, will not walk free with Sunday's court decision— he will remain in custody while under investigation on charges in an unrelated case. The 84-year-old ex-president was reported last year to have been close to death, but the current state of his health is unknown.

A small crowd of Mubarak loyalists in the courtroom erupted with applause and cheers after the ruling was read out. Holding portraits of the former president aloft, they broke into chants of "Long live justice." Another jubilant crowd later gathered outside the Nile-side hospital where Mubarak is being held in the Cairo district of Maadi, where they passed out candies to pedestrians and motorists.

The court did not provide the reasoning for its decision, but the grounds for granting the appeal were expected to be released later. No date has been set for the retrial.

The decision to grant the appeal, however, had been widely expected. When Mubarak was convicted and sentenced to life in June, that trial's presiding judge criticized the prosecution's case, saying it lacked concrete evidence and that nothing in what was presented to the court proved that the protesters were killed by the police.

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