Egyptian public prosecutor Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud on April 25 ordered ousted president Hosni Mubarak transferred from a private hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to a prison hospital in Cairo. Mahmoud ordered the transfer after Mubarak’s doctor cleared him to travel. Mubarak was hospitalized for heart trouble shortly after his resignation. Prosecutors have urged Mubarak’s transfer so that he may be questioned by officials about allegations ranging from embezzlement to murder. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior will oversee Mubarak’s transfer first to a military prison and then to the hospital in Tora Prison where he will be held for questioning.
Last month, a commission of Arab and Egyptian human rights groups accused the former president and the country’s police of murdering protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt early this year. The joint commission submitted their report to Egypt’s top prosecutor for further investigation. The Supreme Military Council of Egypt, which assumed power after Mubarak’s resignation, instructed Egypt’s top prosecutor to investigate the death of protesters during the three weeks of demonstrations in the country. Following the demonstrations, Egypt’s chief prosecutor requested in February that Foreign Ministry officials take steps to freeze any foreign assets belonging to Mubarak and his family.
From Jurist, April 25. Used with permission.
See our last posts on Egypt and the new regional revolutions.
Egypt: court convicts ex-tourism minister for corruption
An Egyptian criminal court on May 10 convicted the country’s former tourism minister, Zoheir Garranah, for corruption and sentenced him to five years in prison. Garranah was found to have sold public land in the Red Sea province below market value to two businessmen. The two businessmen were also found guilty in abstentia and also received five-year sentences. The court said that Garranah had illegally allocated the public land to the private developers. He is the second high-ranking state official to be found guilty of corruption since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was forced from office in February. More convictions are likely since there are close to two dozen former Mubarak cabinet members and other business people who have been detained for alleged corruption thus far, including the former prime minister, the speakers of parliament’s two chambers, and Mubarak’s two sons.
Prosecutors said last month that Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted of ordering attacks on protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt early this year. Mubarak is also facing charges of corruption and embezzlement of public funds. His detention, extended last month to give authorities more time to decide if they want to send him to jail or a prison hospital, was extended again May 10. He is being detained at Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital after he was hospitalized for heart trouble. Also last month, an Egyptian court ordered that Mubarak’s political party be dissolved. The country’s High Administrative Court said It would be illogical for Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, which took control in 1978, to remain an entity. The court also liquidated the party’s assets. Analysts call the court’s decision an important step in the building of a multi-party system, which the country has not had for more than 30 years. (Jurist, May 10)
Egypt: ex-housing minister sentenced to five years
An Egyptian court on May 26 convicted a former housing minister of corruption and sentenced him to five years in prison. Ahmed al-Maghrabi was found guilty of illegal acquisition of state land for his part in the sale of the 18 acres of land to a prominent businessman, who was convicted in the same case and given a one-year suspended sentence. The public land was sold without auction and well below market value, in violation of a 1998 law. As a result, the two men were found guilty of wasting public funds and ordered to repay 72 million Egyptian pounds ($12.6 million) to the state for damaging public finances, and were then together fined an additional 72 million pounds. At this time Maghrabi also faces charges of profiteering and wasting public funds in another corruption suit involving a relative. (Jurist, May 27)
Egypt: court fines Mubarak $90 million
An Egyptian judge on May 29 fined former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and two ministers $90 million for shutting down Internet and mobile phone service during the protests culminating in his ouster. The massive fine, the first court ruling against Mubarak since leaving office, is to compensate for damage to the economy resulting from the shutdown of services and must be paid from private assets. Mubarak, already under house arrest at a hospital, is responsible for $33.6 million of the fine issued by the administrative court. The ousted leader has been ordered to stand trial on charges of corruption and conspiring to kill protesters, which may carry the death penalty. (Jurist, May 29)
Egypt: former finance minister gets 30 years
An Egyptian court convicted former finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali in absentia on June 4 and sentenced him to 30 years in prison for profiteering and abusing state and private assets. Boutros-Ghali quit his post in late January then fled abroad, days after the eruption of the mass uprising that later ousted Hosni Mubarak. He also resigned in early February as head of the International Monetary Fund’s main policy steering panel. He is believed to be inl Beirut. (Reuters, June 4)
Egypt: Amnesty protests “virginity tests”
Amnesty International issued a statement May 31 demanding that Egyptian authorities bring to justice those responsible for ordering or conducting forced “virginity tests” on female protesters. That same day, an Egyptian general openly attempted to justify the practice, which the military had earlier denied, in an interview with CNN. The general, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the women “were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters.” He said the tests were necessary to head off false accusations of rape against the soldiers. He said the military “didn’t want [the women] to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place.”
Retorted Amnesty: “This general’s implication that only virgins can be victims of rape is a long-discredited sexist attitude and legal absurdity. When determining a case of rape, it is irrelevant whether or not the victim is a virgin. The army must immediately instruct security forces and soldiers that such ‘tests’ are banned.” (LAT, May 31)
Egypt: ministers acquitted of misappropriating state funds
An Egyptian court on July 5 acquitted three former ministers under ousted president Hosni Mubarak on charges of misappropriating state funds. The Cairo Criminal Court found three ministers not guilty: Ahmed Maghrabi, former minister of housing, Yousef Boutros-Ghali, former minister of finance, and former minister of information Anas el-Fiqqi. The verdict is the first time former ministers of Mubarak have been found not guilty on corruption charges since the former president stepped down in February. The court did sentence former trade minister Rachid Mohammed Rachid in absentia for squandering public funds and profiteering. Maghrabu and Boutros-Ghali will remain in custody as they are facing other charges. The decision was not well received by many Egyptians who feel that the Cairo criminal court is rushing corruption trials while failing to bring more cases for human rights abuses against protesters. A trial date for Mubarak was set for Aug. 3 at the Cairo Criminal Court. (Jurist, July 5)
Egypt: trial of former interior minister delayed
An Egyptian criminal court on July 25 postponed the trial of former interior minister Habib el-Adly until Aug. 3. El-Adly and Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak face charges of killing pro-democracy protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt earlier this year. Six of el-Adly’s former assistants are also charged with murdering demonstrators. The trial date for Mubarak was set for August 3 at the Cairo Criminal Court. Pursuant to the postponement order, both men are slated to stand trial on the same day.
El-Adly, who was already serving a 12-year prison sentence, was sentenced to five years in July on corruption charges. Former finance minister Yousef Boutros and former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, along with el-Adly, were ordered to return USD $15 million for a no-bid contract, while Boutros and el-Adly were also fined nearly USD $17 million. In March, a commission of Arab and Egyptian human rights groups accused Mubarak and the police of murdering protesters during the demonstrations in Egypt. Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted of ordering attacks on protesters, and el-Adly’s testimony could help prove Mubarak was an accomplice to the killings. Amnesty International reported that at least 840 people were killed, and more than 6,000 were injured, during the Egyptian protests. (Jurist, July 25)
Mubarak trial to be held in Cairo
The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be held in Cairo, a senior official said July 28. The announcement comes amid speculation that the trial would be held at a Red Sea resort because of Mubarak’s alleged poor health. Many Egyptians contend that Mubarak is not ill and that members of the government have claimed the ex-president is sick in an effort to avoid a swift, public trial. Mubarak faces several charges, including murder, attempted killing of protesters, and other charges related to general abuse of power. The trial date for Mubarak is set for Aug. 3 at the Cairo Criminal Court. Mubarak was hospitalized in April, just days before he was scheduled to appear before Egypt’s public prosecutor for questioning about his alleged roles in protester deaths and embezzlement of government money. (Jurist, July 28)
Mubarak trial to be held at new location outside Cairo
The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be held at a police academy located on the outer border of Cairo, an Egyptian judge announced July 30. Officials chose the new location for the added security, after reporting days earlier that the trial would take place at a convention center in downtown Cairo. Mubarak will face trial with his two sons, six deputies and a businessman who also face corruption charges. The trial date for Mubarak is set for Aug. 3 by the Cairo Criminal Court. The judge heading the court has promised a speedy trial and will allow the proceedings to air on national television. (Jurist, July 31)
Egypt: ex-tourism minister convicted —again
An Egyptian court on Sept. 18 convicted Zohair Garanah, the former tourism minister under the Hosni Mubarak regime, on corruption charges, and sentenced him to three years in prison. The conviction of Garanah, a businessman before joining Mubarak’s cabinet, closely followed that of Ahmed Ezz, who was also highly involved in the ruling party and also convicted on corruption charges. Garanah is already serving five years after an Egyptian criminal court in May found that he had sold public land in the Red Sea province below market value to two businessmen. The two businessmen were also found guilty in absentia, and also received five-year terms. A number of other ministers and businessmen involved with the regime continue to be detained and tried, including Mubarak, the resumption of whose trial earlier this month, was marked by violence in the courtroom. (Jurist, Sept. 18)
Mubarak trial put on hold amid claims of judicial bias
The trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was suspended Sept. 26 until next month amid bias claims. Lawyers for the families of the anti-Mubarak protesters who were killed argued to the Cairo Appeals Court that Judge Ahmed Refaat was overseeing the case in an arbitrary manner. Refaat suspended the trial until Oct. 30, but if a new judge is put on the trial, it would start over. Mubarak is on trial for murder, attempted killing of protesters and other charges related to general abuse of power stemming from his response to pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt earlier this year. Mubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also on trial for corruption charges.
Mubarak’s trial began on Aug. 3, with Mubarak and his sons pleading not guilty to all charges. Rifaat decided last month to end live TV broadcasts of subsequent proceedings amid protests from the families of victims and praise from several courtroom lawyers who opposed the broadcasts. Officials chose a new location for Mubarak’s trial for security reasons after reporting that the trial would take place at a convention center in downtown Cairo.
In July, an Egyptian criminal court postponed the trial of former interior minister Habib el-Adly, who also faces murder charges in relation to the pro-democracy demonstrations, so it would coincide with Mubarak’s trial. Mubarak could face the death penalty if convicted of ordering attacks on protesters. (Jurist, Sept. 27)
Egypt court acquits former ministers of corruption charges
Egypt’s criminal court on March 16 acquitted former ministers of tourism and housing, Zohair Garanah and Ahmed al-Maghrabi, of charges of corruption. Both men were charged with profiteering and illegally selling state-owned land during their time as ministers under former president Hosni Mubarak. Garanah was originally convicted of corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison in 2011, but a retrial was ordered in February. Al-Maghrabi was also convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in 2011, but Egypt’s Court of Cassation canceled that verdict in December. Both men currently remain in prison in Cairo, however, on other charges.
Last month a court ordered the release of former chief of staff Zakaria Azmi after an appeals court reversed his conviction for corruption charges and ordered a retrial. Weeks earlier, a court sentenced former interior minister Habib el-Adly to abuse of power for forcing public workers to perform work on his home. Mubarak’s own conviction and life sentence wasb overturned, and a retrial was ordered in January. The judge who ordered the retrial did not release the reasons for his ruling, but a retrial had been anticipated after the trial judge made it clear that the prosecution lacked hard evidence to support the charges.
From Jurist, March 17. Used with permission.