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Former Egyptian Leader Mubarak Released

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been freed after being cleared of charges against him. As NPR's Jane Arraf reports, his lawyers say the 88-year-old left a military hospital this morning where he had essentially been under house arrest.

JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: Mubarak left the Cairo hospital early this morning - a free man for the first time in six years his lawyer Farid el-Deeb tells NPR. He's believed to have returned to his home in the upscale Cairo district of Heliopolis, the same neighborhood as the presidential palace where he governed from for 30 years. Mubarak was forced to step down when anti-government protests swept Egypt in 2011. It was part of the Arab Spring where young people and others across the region went out in the streets to demand better government and more freedom. Mubarak was arrested two months later on charges of corruption and ordering security forces to kill more than 200 protesters.

He served time for some of the corruption charges, but this month, the top appeals court ruled he was not guilty in ordering the killings. The former president isn't completely out of the clear. He faces potential charges on allegations he received gifts from a state-owned newspaper. But he's not expected to be taken back into custody unless he's convicted. Many Egyptians believed when Mubarak was overthrown their lives would be better. But it's been a tumultuous six years. The Muslim Brotherhood government was elected and then overthrown in a military coup, and Egyptians are struggling with the worst economic crisis in, years. Widespread arrests and a ban on protests around. Jane Arraf, NPR News, Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUFIT ERDAG'S "OGHLAN OGHLAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.