Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Mubarak appeal rejected

On 9 January the Court of Cassation upheld the 2015 conviction of former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The Court of Cassation has rejected an appeal submitted by former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons against a 2015 verdict sentencing them to three years on charges of embezzling LE125 million of public funds.

Mubarak, who claims he opted not to flee Egypt following the 2011 uprising because he had never been involved in corruption, hoped to be acquitted of the charges.

The former president is also being tried on charges of ordering the police to fire on pro-democracy demonstrators protesting against his rule in Tahrir Square. The trial is scheduled to resume hearings on 21 January.

The 9 January judgement does not mean that Mubarak will be imprisoned. Judicial and security sources say the four years Mubarak has already been in detention cover the three-year sentence.

 “Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, have already been detained for longer than the three-year sentence and are now technically free,” said Mahmoud Kibiesh, a professor of criminal law at Cairo University.

They will, however, have to return the LE125 million embezzled.

 “Their property and banking asserts will be placed under sequestration until the amount is paid. The verdict also means that Mubarak and his two sons will be banned from exercising their political rights for six years,” said Kibiesh.

Interior Ministry officials say the LE125 million will be taken from the Mubarak family’s sequestered assets.

 “Mubarak has already served his prison sentences though he has opted to stay in the Maadi Military Hospital to receive medical treatment,” said Mohamed Naguib, deputy interior minister for prison affairs. “Now, of course, he will be able to receive guests and use personal phones, and his wife can choose to stay with him in the hospital.”

 Mubarak’s lawyer, Fareed Al-Deeb, has questioned the verdict. “Mubarak is alleged to have used his position in order to not pay the Arab Contractors Company which was in charge of renovating presidential palaces,” said Al-Deeb. “But the fact is that Mubarak and his sons agreed to pay any outstanding bills. They were prevented from doing so by the outbreak of the 25 January uprising.”

Al-Deeb also pointed out that Mubarak’s presidential aides told the court that Mubarak was dealing with the Arab Contractors Company, not with the subcontractors who filed the original case against the former president in 2011.

Al-Deeb claims that the Muslim Brotherhood conspired to tarnish the reputation of his client and keep him in prison.

 “They used the prosecutor-general they appointed to open new investigations and judges loyal to them to collect distorted information about the case.”

The verdict against Mubarak in the embezzlement case was issued on 9 May 2015. The former president and his sons were found guilty, sentenced to three years and fined LE125 million.

Said Kibiesh, “The verdict has been thoroughly reviewed by the Cassation Court, the highest judicial authority in Egypt, with a reputation for neutral judgements based on facts and not hearsay.”

The refusal of the appeal makes Mubarak the first Egyptian president to be convicted of corruption. In November 2014 a Cairo Criminal Court cleared the 87-year-old autocrat of charges of profiteering from his post as president of Egypt by accepting gifts, in the form of villas in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, in return for allowing a business associate to export natural gas to Israel at below-market prices.

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