Mubarak to be placed under house arrest in Egypt

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is to be placed under house arrest after being released from Cairo's Tora prison on 22 August.

The order for house arrest has been made by the office of the Egyptian prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi "in the context of the emergency law" currently in place across the country.

The announcement comes as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have called for more street protests against the ruling military authorities after Friday prayers on 23 August.

On 14 August the new military regime declared a month-long state of national emergency, following the violent fallout from the ousting of democratically-elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.

The military government has imposed a crackdown on Islamists, in particular Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, triggering widespread protests and resulting in the deaths of almost 900 people in recent protests between supporters and opponents of Morsi and security forces.

The announcement of Mubarak’s release after more than two years in detention comes as Egyptian authorities arrested two high-profile Islamist figures, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader Mohammed Badie and Safwat Hegazy, a cleric from the ultra-conservative Salafi movement aligned with the Brotherhood.

Some of the corruption charges against the 85-year old Mubarak have been dropped. However he still faces a retrial for complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled his almost three-decade rule of Egypt. He was sentenced to life last year on these charges but was granted a retrial on appeal. Now he can no longer be held in prison as he has served the maximum pre-trial detention permitted.

European Union member states have agreed to suspend export licenses for equipment that could be used for political repression in Egypt but have pledged to continue sending humanitarian aid. Washington has announced a "review" of its annual $1.3 billion aid package to the Egyptian military although there doesn't appear to be any significant policy change on the cards.