Mubarak handed three years for embezzlement of state funds

A Cairo court also sentences the former president's sons to four years in prison each on charges they siphoned off millions of dollars' of state funds.
Egypt's deposed president Hosni Mubarak waves from behind the accused cage during his trial on May 21, 2014 in Cairo. An Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to three years in prison on corruption charges, in one of two trials after the 2011 uprising that ended his rule. Hassan Mohamed/AFP Photo
Egypt's deposed president Hosni Mubarak waves from behind the accused cage during his trial on May 21, 2014 in Cairo. An Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to three years in prison on corruption charges, in one of two trials after the 2011 uprising that ended his rule. Hassan Mohamed/AFP Photo

CAIRO // An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, to three years in prison for embezzling public funds.

Mubarak, 86, still faces a retrial over the killing of hundreds of anti-government protesters who participated in the nationwide rallies that led to his removal in February 2011 after 29 years in power.

His two sons, Gamal, once considered his father’s heir apparent, and the businessman Alaa were also convicted on Wednesday of the same charges and ordered to serve four years each behind bars.

The court also fined the three US$2.9 million (Dh10.6m) and ordered them to pay back some $17.6m of public finances that were designated for the upkeep of presidential residences, but instead were put to private use by the family.

The convictions come ahead of next week’s presidential election that is likely to see Mubarak’s former military intelligence chief, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, win by a wide margin.

Speaking as he delivered Wednesday’s verdict, the judge, Osama Shaheen, said Mubarak “should have treated people near and far from him equally”.

“Instead of abiding by the constitution and laws, he gave himself and his sons the freedom to take from public funds whatever they wanted to without oversight and regard.”

The conviction is likely to please Egyptians critical of Mubarak’s three-decade rule, during which he controlled most, if not all, of the country’s institutions and firmly limited opposition to his rule.

However, many in Egypt became nostalgic for the Mubarak era after the revolution that toppled him led to years of chaos, including 12 months under the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.

Mr Morsi was removed from office by the military last year after days of protests against his rule.

Another wave of unrest blamed on Islamists followed Mr Morsi’s removal. That led to a security operation against Islamist protesters, which killed hundreds and led to the arrests of thousands of Brotherhood members and their supporters, as well as the classification of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation by the interim government in December.

A court in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on Wednesday convicted 155 Brotherhood members, of violence-related charges, to jail sentences of up to 25 years. Seventy-nine of the defendants are fugitives and were tried in absentia.

Mr Morsi is under arrest and has been indicted in four separate trials, including inciting the deaths of protesters outside the presidential palace before his was ousted.

Many now see Mr El Sisi, who like Mubarak rose to power through the armed forces, as a strong leader with the armed forces bona fides necessary to bring order and economic stability after more than three years of political and financial uncertainty.

Looking relaxed, Mubarak attended Wednesday’s court session in a grey suit and tie. He and his two sons, who donned the standard-issued white court jumpers, have been in held in custody since 2011.

The trio have been held by authorities on charges of graft for about a year, which will be deducted from their sentences.

In June 2012, Mubarak was convicted to life in prison for not preventing the killing of nearly 1,000 demonstrations during the 2011 uprising that lasted 18 days and shook the political and economic foundations of the region.

Prosecutors appealed that conviction, which was overturned in January of last year.

Although released in August, authorities kept him at a military hospital in the capital where he is expected to serve the remainder of his sentence.

hnaylor@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Associated Press

Published: May 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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