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Why judge gave Egypt's Hosni Mubarak three years in prison

In a corruption trial, Egypt's deposed leader Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were sentenced to three years in prison and fined $16.3 million.

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    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seated, and his two sons Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak, right, attend the verdict of the corruption case dubbed by the Egyptian media as the "presidential palaces" affair concerning charges that Mubarak and his two sons embezzled millions of dollars' worth of state funds over the course of a decade in a courtroom in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 9, 2015. Egypt's deposed leader Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were sentenced Saturday to three years in prison and a fine in a retrial on corruption charges they faced earlier. It wasn't immediately clear whether it will include time he's already served since his country's 2011 revolt.
    (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Egypt's deposed leader Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were sentenced Saturday to three years in prison and a fine in a retrial on corruption charges they faced earlier. It wasn't immediately clear whether it will include time he's already served since his country's 2011 revolt.

The corruption case — dubbed by the Egyptian media as the "presidential palaces" affair — concerns charges that Mubarak and his two sons embezzled millions of dollars' worth of state funds over the course of a decade. The funds were meant to pay for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were instead allegedly spent on upgrading the family's private residences.

Mubarak was sentenced to three years, his sons to four in the case. He later appealed, sparking the retrial.

Supporters shouted in anger as Judge Hassan Hassanin announced his verdict.

"We believe in you! We trust Mubarak!" they yelled, as some women there began crying. Some wore T-shirts emblazoned with the former leader's face, and waved and blew kisses as the 87-year-old autocrat entered the courtroom.

Mubarak, wearing sunglasses, had no visible reaction to the verdict. His two sons, Gamal and Alaa, wore suits to the hearing and also had no reaction.

A lawyer for Mubarak said the judge's decision can be appealed.

The verdict included a 125 million Egyptian pound ($16.3 million) fine to be paid among the three men, as well as the return of 21 million Egyptian pounds ($2.7 million) they embezzled. After the hearing, judicial and security officials said those amounts already had been paid by the Mubaraks following their first trial.

Mubarak returned to the military hospital in Cairo where he's been held amid his trials. Officials said his two sons were taken to Torah Prison as authorities determine whether their time served would cover for the sentences Saturday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.

Many Egyptians view Gamal, Mubarak's one-time heir apparent, and his brother, wealthy businessman Alaa, as key pillars of an autocratic and corrupt administration that struck an alliance with the mega-wealthy at the expense of the poor. Although father and son denied succession plans, that perception, along with corruption, police brutality and poverty, fueled the 2011 revolt.

Images of Gamal making public appearances have circulated on social media, first at a funeral last month and then last weekend with his family at the Giza pyramids. Mubarak

The rise of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has vowed stability after four years of turmoil and taken a tough line against dissent, has encouraged Mubarak supporters and upended the depiction of the revolution in the media, where activists now are most often cast as troublemakers or foreign agents. Hundreds of the young activists from the 2011 revolt now are either languishing in prison on charges of breaking a protest law or have left the country.

Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Mubarak's freely elected successor, himself was overthrown by the military led by el-Sissi in 2013. Saturday's hearing, at a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo, took place in the same courtroom where Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month for using force against protesters.

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Associated Press writers Merrit Kennedy and Maamoun Youssef contributed to this report.

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