Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

Wanted

Is there any real possibility of former prime minister Ahmed Shafik being arrested by Interpol? Mohamed Abdel-Baky investigates

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eg60
Al-Ahram Weekly

Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdallah announced last week that Egypt intends to ask Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafik who is being tried in absentia on charges of embezzling LE30 million of public funds in the Air Force Officers Land Association case, and of laundering a further LE5 million. Cairo Criminal Court (CCC) is expected to issue a verdict on 4 May.  
The prosecutor-general’s office also announced that it has filed criminal charges against Shafik over a series of real estate sales dating to 2005. Shafik’s three daughters are also facing charges relating to the sale of villas belonging to the Air Force Officers Land Association.
Shafik, who left for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after losing to Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in the run-off presidential election, was appointed prime minister shortly before Hosni Mubarak resigned as president.
The prosecutor-general has asked the CCC to officially request Shafik’s extradition from the UAE.
Last year the CCC ordered that Shafik be detained on his return to Egypt to face accusations of illegally allocating 40,000 square metres of land to Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal. He is now facing charges of squandering public funds, forgery, profiteering and money laundering.
Experts say an international arrest warrant will not force the UAE to hand over Shafik to Egypt though it could prevent him from travelling out of the UAE.
Ibrahim Al-Anani, an expert in international law, says that Interpol arresting Shafik involves a very complicated process that could, in such a high profile case, take years. Though the UAE is a signatory to international conventions on handing over foreign criminals to their countries, it also, points out Al-Anani, has the right to deny any Interpol arrest request.
“First Egypt has to submit all documents and the paper from the case to the UAE authorities in order to prove to them that Shafik was involved in crimes that violated the laws in Egypt and threatened the country’s social, economic and security stability,” he says.
Should the UAE then refuse to hand over the defendant to his country, international law obliges the host state to hold its own trial.
Shawki Al-Sayed, Shafik’s lawyer, says the prosecutor- general’s request to Interpol is simply a formality and an obligation necessitated by Egyptian law.
“I am sure the UAE judiciary will deny any request by Interpol to extradite Shafik to Egypt. Everybody knows this case is about settling political accounts between Shafik and the Muslim Brotherhood,” argued Al-Sayed.
Shafik has given several interviews in the last week in which he accused the Muslim Brotherhood of “settling of political scores” because he knows too much.
“The Brotherhood emerged from the prisons and became the rulers of the country,” Shafik said. “Your punishment will be tough. You will regret your actions against me and against the Egyptian people.”
The government’s request to Interpol, Shafik said, was silly adding that he would consult his lawyers about the right time to return to Egypt.
In a related development, head of the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) Mohamed Momtaz ordered investigations after a report filed by two lawyers accused judge Osama Al-Saidi, tasked with investigating the corruption case against Shafik, of accepting bribes.
Lawyers Yousri Abdel-Razek and Mohamed Abdel-Razek have accused Al-Saidi of illegal profiting and graft. The two lawyers claim Al-Saidi obtained a villa in 6 October City, estimated to be worth LE5 million, from the Arab Contractors Company after hearing a corruption case in which the company was involved.
The company then appointed Al-Saidi as a legal advisor, the lawyers said. He was also appointed to the board of directors and headed the company’s football committee.

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