Hosni Mubarak -- shown here in 2011 -- held power for 30 years before being ousted amid massive protests.

Story highlights

Hosni Mubarak and his son were convicted of embezzling money from Egypt's government

A court uphelds the sentence in the case, though all 3 are free having gotten credit for time served

A possible retrial in connection with protesters' deaths still looms over Mubarak

CNN  — 

An Egyptian court on Saturday rejected ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s appeal of his corruption conviction – a decision that doesn’t mean the longtime leader will spend more time in custody, though that remains a possibility in a separate case.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest criminal court, rejected an appeal by Mubarak and his two sons tied to their punishment for embezzling $17.9 million allocated for the renovation of presidential palaces, state-run Ahram Online reported.

The three were ordered to pay 125 million Egyptian pounds ($16 million) and sentenced to three years in prison on those charges. However, the Mubaraks have already served the three years and will not be returned to prison.

This decision mirrors that of the Cairo Court of Appeals, which in May 2015 also upheld a three-year sentence imposed on Mubarak but gave him credit for time served. Sons Gamal and Alaa Mubarak walked free, and the elder Mubarak, went to Maadi Military Hospital in Cairo when he was released.

The 87-year-old former Egyptian leader remains in the hospital, though he may still stand trial in the killing of protesters in the 2011 unrest that led to the end to his 30 years in power.

The Arab Spring movement that swept through North Africa and some nations in the Middle East was marked by clashes between authorities and protesters, with the latter seemingly emerging victorious after Mubarak stepped down and handed power to Egypt’s military. He was later tried and convicted on several fronts, as Mohamed Morsy – a top figure in the once banned (and now banned, again) Muslim Brotherhood – became Egypt’s first democratically elected leader.

Morsy eventually was himself forced from power and arrested in 2013 as the military took control once more, and many of Mubarak’s convictions were overturned.

A lower court even cleared him of charges related to the protesters’ deaths in November 2014. But the Court of Cassation opened the door for a possible retrial on those counts last June.

Saturday’s Ahram Online story noted that the same high court has yet to accept or reject a push by prosecutors for a new trial.

CNN’s Don Melvin in London contributed to this report.