CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak is expected to be freed from prison and placed under house arrest on Thursday after being ordered released the previous day, following more than two years in detention.
The development is a new twist in the saga of the long-time president, toppled in Egypt's popular uprising in 2011, and could potentially stoke tensions in the deeply divided nation. It could also amplify the anger against the military-backed government and Islamist allegations that last month's military coup against Mubarak's successor, Mohammed Morsi, was a step toward restoring the old regime.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi ordered Mubarak be put under house arrest as part of the emergency measures imposed this month after Morsi's removal from office. The decision appeared designed to ease some of the criticism over Mubarak being freed from prison and ensure that he appears in court next week for a separate trial.
El-Beblawi's announcement came hours after a court ordered Mubarak be released for the first time since he was first detained in April 2011.
Prison officials said he may be released as early as Thursday but it was unclear where he will be held under house arrest, whether in one of his residences or in a hospital, considering his frail health.