Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Back to prison

Former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons have again been convicted on charges of embezzlement, reports Reem Leila

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday backed a previous ruling against former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, sentencing Mubarak to a three-year jail term and his two sons to four years in prison on charges of embezzlement in a case dubbed the presidential palaces case.

During the retrial held at the Police Academy in Cairo amid a heavy security presence, the presiding judge Hassan Hassanein obliged the three men to pay a LE125 million fine and to return LE21 million to the government.

Mubarak and his sons have the right to appeal Saturday’s ruling before the Court of Cassation, which could either back the ruling or accept the appeal and hear the case again. A second ruling by the Court of Cassation would be final.

Mubarak and his sons were charged with diverting more than LE125 million from the budget allocated for the presidential palaces and using the money to construct or renovate their own private properties.

In May 2014, Mubarak was sentenced by the Cairo Criminal Court to three years in prison and his sons were sentenced to four years. In January this year the Court of Cassation annulled the verdicts and ordered a retrial after the general prosecution appealed against the verdicts asking for a tougher sentence.

The former president was imprisoned pending investigations on the charge from 7 April 2013 to 19 August 2013, and again from 21 May 2014 to January 2015. Both his sons were jailed at the Torah Prison on the charge as well as on many others.

Following this week’s ruling, Mubarak, 87, was relocated to the Maadi Military Hospital, while his sons have been returned to Torah Prison. According to the law, the pre-trial detention period is deducted from the time to be served of any sentence.

Lawyer Osama Ebeid, one of Mubarak’s defence team, said the sons had been sent back to prison until the Prisons Authority had calculated the period they had spent in jail while they were under investigation in the case.

“If the Authority finds they have already served the sentence while they were on remand, they will be released. If it finds that there is still a remaining period they should spend in jail, they will remain in the Torah Prison until they finish their sentences,” Ebeid said.

“They will not be released until they have paid the LE146 million demanded by the Court,” he said. The Prisons Authority and general prosecution are the only organisations able to calculate the remaining period, he added.

According to an anonymous source at the Prisons Authority, both Alaa and Gamal Mubarak have thus far been detained for 26 months in prison. They should spend 48 months in jail, so there is still another 22 months they should serve in prison.

“However, the law considers one year in jail to be eight months instead of 12 months. So, the remaining period they should spend in prison is an extra six months,” the source said.

Ebeid said that “the Mubaraks intended to appeal the verdicts. If the appeal is accepted they will be retried in front of another court. If the appeal is rejected they will have no choice but to continue their remaining period in jail,” he commented.

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were released on 22 January this year after spending nearly four years in prison.

Before the new court ruling, former president Hosni Mubarak’s supporters, most of them wearing T-shirts with his face on them, waved to him and blew kisses into the air. Immediately after the ruling, they shouted in anger against the verdict. Some were crying, and one woman fainted.

The three men wore suits during the trial, made no facial expressions and gave no reactions regarding the rulings. They also turned round as if wanting to hide their faces from the cameras.

Images of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak making a public appearance at a funeral last month were recently circulated on social media. Gamal Mubarak and his wife and daughter also made an appearance at the Giza Plateau.

According to Aliya al-Mahdi, a professor of political science at Cairo University, the verdict in the case of Gamal Mubarak is intended to prevent him from returning to the political arena.

“The court ruling means that Gamal will not be able to nominate himself in any parliamentary, presidential or even municipal elections because the crime for which he has been convicted constitutes a breach of honour,” al-Mahdi said.

Crimes which involve a breach of honour are not subject to presidential pardon and ban the defendant from exercising his political rights. “Through this verdict the regime has guaranteed the end of the Mubarak era,” Al-Mahdi concluded.

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