Sources: Mubarak has left Egypt

Sources tell Al Jazeera that former president has departed for Germany, but military council denies the report.

Sources tell Al Jazeera that Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, has left the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on a flight headed to Germany, possibly for medical treatment.

Mubarak had been staying in Sharm El-Sheikh under house arrest since he stepped down from office on February 11.

Despite the reports, Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, said people in Egypt are not convinced that the news is true.

They are holding the military to the promise of keeping Mubarak in the country to stand trial for alleged crimes under his presidency, she said.

“The army has repeatedly said Mubarak would not be able to leave Egypt, even for medical treatment.”

Military denial

She added that if true, news of Mubarak’s departure would “definitely cause a lot of anger on the streets of Egypt”.

Shortly after the report, a source from the military council denied the story to the Reuters news agency.

Media reports earlier this month indicated that Mubarak was receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

But Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said the former leader and his family would not be allowed to leave the country and denied reports that Mubarak had fled to Saudi Arabia.

And in February, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Mubarak’s trip to Germany would be part of a long-term plan hatched by the US as an exit strategy for Mubarak.

The United States government’s scenario for an end to the political chaos in Egypt appears to be this: President Hosni Mubarak travels to Germany for a “prolonged health check” that would offer the 82-year-old a dignified departure.

Mubarak was ousted by a populist revolution after 30 years of rule. The military council took power after he stepped down, following 18 days of massive street protests.

Egypt is due to hold parliamentary elections in September, although no exact date has yet been given for a presidential vote.

The country’s emergency laws, in place since 1981, are to be lifted ahead of the parliamentary vote, the military council has said.

The laws give police near-unlimited powers of arrest and allowed indefinite detentions without charges.

( / 03.04.2011)

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