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Mubarak's Release From Prison Cuts Across Egypt's Divisions

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Mubarak's Release From Prison Cuts Across Egypt's Divisions

Africa

Mubarak's Release From Prison Cuts Across Egypt's Divisions

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're going to take a look now at this week of turmoil in the Middle East and we start in Egypt, where this morning the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for more street protests in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. But the military that forced Morsi out from power has the upper hand.

GREENE: We saw a symbol of Egypt's shifting fortunes yesterday when former dictator Hosni Mubarak was flown by helicopter from prison to house arrest in a hospital. NPR's Leila Fadel describes how the news of Mubarak's move cut across the country's divisions.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: A few dozen people celebrated outside the prison as the 85-year-old Mubarak was ferried away by helicopter. By order of the prime minister, Hazem el Beblawi, Mubarak will now be held under house arrest at a military hospital in suburban Cairo. He will still be retried for his role in the killing of some 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising against him as well as on corruption charges.

Morsi's supporters criticized the move as another sign that military rule is back in Egypt. Especially in light of how ousted president Morsi has been treated - overthrown and now detained along with thousands of his supporters. Meanwhile, families of those killed during the uprising against Mubarak in 2011 are angry. Basma Azzam's brother Lotfy was among the dead.

BASMA AZZAM: (Speaking in foreign language)

FADEL: How can they honor him like this, she says. I'm astonished. How can all these people not see? Are you in a coma? But Azzam's main shock is how little public reaction there has been. And right now she won't protest either. She says the country is already going through enough. Political activists who don't support the military or the Muslim Brotherhood say this shows the country is moving in reverse. Leila Fadel, NPR News, Cairo.

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