Sunday,17 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)
Sunday,17 February, 2019
Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Mubarak’s case reopened

Former president Hosni Mubarak faces a new investigation into illegal gifts received from Al-Ahram Establishment

On 24 March Hosni Mubarak was free for the first time in six years. A day earlier, however, a Cairo Criminal Court accepted an appeal by prosecutors against an earlier court ruling ending investigations in what is referred to as the Al-Ahram gifts case. In January 2013 Mubarak paid LE18 million against gifts he, his immediate family and senior aides, had received from the state-owned Al-Ahram press and publishing establishment. Mubarak’s family also reimbursed state-owned newspaper Al-Gomhoureya with LE1.4 million for gifts received. Following the payments a Cairo court ruled in 2016 that investigations in the case should be shelved.

“A judge was appointed by Cairo Criminal Court in 2012 to investigate the case. After a year of investigations the judge reported that around 300 public figures had received gifts from Al-Ahram and other state-owned press organisations between 2005 and 2010,” said Mubarak’s lawyer Farid Al-Deeb. “The judge also reported most of these public figures, including former president Hosni Mubarak, had agreed to repay the monetary value of the gifts they had received from Al-Ahram.”

“President Mubarak denied that he had received any gifts from Al-Ahram but after being threatened with the possibility of prison if he refused to repay the value of the gifts Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa intervened to settle the legal dispute with Al-Ahram. They repaid the value of the gifts and the court decided in 2013 the case be shelved.”

Al-Deeb said he was surprised by the prosecution-general’s decision to reopen the case.

“If the court order means prosecution authorities will investigate president Mubarak again, then they should do the same with the other 300 public figures who also received gifts from Al-Ahram,” said Al-Deeb.

On 24 March Mubarak returned to his home in Heliopolis following six years of trials and re-trials. He was released following his acquittal on charges of killing protesters during the 25 January uprising in 2011.

Denying reports Mubarak had left Al-Maadi Military Hospital, where he had been confined since 2013, in a large security convoy, Al-Deeb, said the former president had been flown by helicopter from Maadi to his home in Heliopolis. “The journey took minutes and president Mubarak couldn’t believe he was home after six years of trials.”

Contradicting press reports, Al-Deeb said the 88-year-old Mubarak does not intend to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform either the haj or omra or travel to Europe for medical treatment. “All Mubarak wants is to spend the rest of his life in peace with his family and receive medical treatment in Egypt if necessary.”

Al-Deeb also dismissed reports that he asked President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to intervene to speed up the trial of Mubarak.

“I simply complained that the Ministry of Justice was not helping the Court of Cassation to issue its final judgement on president Mubarak. It took the court two years — from June 2015 to March 2017 — to issue a final judgement,” said Al-Deeb.

On Sunday the Court of Cassation published its reasons fort acquitting Mubarak of manslaughter charges dating to the 2011 uprising.

The court, headed by Ahmed Abdel-Qawi, said “witnesses testified they never received personal orders from Mubarak to open fire on pro-democracy protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 28 January 2011 — the “Friday of Anger”.

“Habib Al-Adli, Mubarak’s long-time minister of interior, also denied he had consulted Mubarak on how to contain the protesters. He said only that he had phoned Mubarak to ask him to order the army to help restore calm to Tahrir Square and downtown Cairo.”

The court cited Hassan Al-Rouni, the army general in charge of the Central Command Area, saying that “in a meeting held on the evening of 28 January Mubarak asked the army to restore order in a peaceful way and without harming the country or its citizens.”

“Families of victims who were killed during the protests in Tahrir Square accused Mubarak of manslaughter charges because he was the president at the time and therefore politically responsible,” said the court.

But Mahmoud Kebish, dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Law, told Al-Ahram Weekly “there is a difference between criminal and political responsibility.”

“The court acquitted Mubarak of any criminal responsibility, noting it was beyond its jurisdiction to refer Mubarak to a political trial,” said Kebish. “Those who still want Mubarak to face a political trial must ask parliament to do this.”

According to Al-Deeb, Mubarak remains banned from travel pending investigations by the Illicit Gains Authority into increases in his personal wealth since the 2011 revolution.

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