The two sons of former Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak were released from prison Monday, one day after at least 20 people were killed in protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ended his rule.
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak were freed after prosecutors certified that they need not be held over outstanding insider trading charges, said a prison official, who asked not to be named.
Mubarak and his sons last month won a retrial on charges of spending more than 100 million Egyptian pounds (14 million dollars) of public money on their private residences.
No steps have been taken to release the former president, who was acquitted in November of responsibility for the killing of demonstrators during the protests that erupted on January 25, 2011.
News that they were due to be released, together with the deaths of two young women protesters as police broke up demonstrations ahead of the anniversary, increased a widespread sense of frustration among Egyptian youths and opposition activists.
Pictures of Saturday’s killing of socialist activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh in Cairo were widely shared on social media, and activists contrasted her fate with the release of Mubarak’s sons.
Al-Sabbagh’s Popular Socialist Alliance is due to meet with allied leftist and opposition parties to consider their response – possibly including a boycott of March’s planned parliamentary elections.
Sunday saw 20 civilians killed as police cracked down on Islamist protests in the capital Cairo and Alexandria, according to a final toll published Monday by the Health Ministry.
Three people were also killed in an attempt to plant bombs in a northern province.
A total of 97 people, including 19 policemen, were injured, the Ministry said.
Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation into what it said was “the authorities’ excessive use of force.”
“Four years after Egypt’s revolution, police are still killing protesters on a regular basis,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at the New York-based rights group.
Egyptian authorities have cracked down on dissent since Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the military in mid-2013 after mass protests against his increasingly unpopular rule.
The authorities say they are implementing a road map to restore democracy, pointing to the election of former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi to the presidency as well as the planned parliamentary polls.