Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seated centre left, and his two sons, Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak attend a hearing in a courtroom in Cairo in 2013. File picture: Mohammed al-Law/AP

Cairo - An Egyptian court has accepted a defence motion to remove a judge who ordered the detention of former President Hosni Mubarak's two sons in connection with their ongoing trial on insider trading charges.

The legal basis for Thursday's verdict wasn't immediately known. It came less than a week after judge Ahmed Aboul-Fetouh ordered the two younger Mubaraks detained — wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak's one-time heir apparent Gamal — before he adjourned their hearings until Oct. 20.

Also unknown is whether legal proceedings would now begin to secure their release.

Separately, the two and their father were detained in 2011 and later sentenced to three years each for embezzling funds meant for maintenance of presidential palaces.

The sons were released in 2015 for time served. Mubarak was freed last year.

AP