Mubarak, sons detained for probe

Former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons have been detained for 15 days for questioning about corruption and the abuse of power during Mubarak’s three-decade rule, Egyptian authorities said on Wednesday. The detention, announced by a prosecutor Mubarak had appointed before his ouster, is a breathtaking reversal for the strongman whose grip on Egypt seemed so unshakable just three months ago that some thought he could hand over power directly to his sonĀ  Gamal, who is now being held along with his brother, Alaa, in Tora Prison in Cairo.

But is also the latest twist in the unfinished story of the revolution that became the touchstone for the broader Arab Spring. The military officers that seized power after Mubarak’s ouster with a pledge to oversee a transition to democracy have cracked down with mounting force on impatient street protesters, beating and torturing nearly 200 in the last several weeks and killing two in an early morning melee on Saturday.

In a rare television interview of Monday night, representatives of the governing military council sought to blame members of Mubarak’s former ruling party for the violence, and some argued Wednesday that a recent spate of high-profile prosecutions against the Mubarak family and their allies may reflect the military’s attempt to placate the protesters demanding faster change. The prosecution of Mubarak has been a rallying cry of the continuing demonstrations.

Since leaving office on Feb 11, Mubarak, 82, had resided with his sons at the family compound in Sharm el Sheik. His whereabouts were unclear on Wednesday. On Sunday, Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered Mubarak and his sons to be questioned in connection with a range of charges related not only to corruption but also to directing violence against protesters during the 18-day uprising that unseated the former president. More than 800 people were killed, according to Egypt’s health ministry.

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