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EGYPT

Mubarak sons, former prime minister cleared in graft case in Egypt

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 2:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 2:13am
 

An Egyptian court yesterday acquitted former leader Hosni Mubarak's two sons and his last prime minister of corruption charges.

The verdict came hours after security forces arrested a prominent activist as part of an intensifying crackdown against icons of the nation's 2011 uprising.

The Cairo criminal court found Gamal and Alaa Mubarak and Ahmed Shafiq innocent of corruption in a case that arose from the 1995 sale of a plot of land to Mubarak's sons by an association led at the time by the former prime minister, judicial officials said.

Prosecutors claim the land was sold to the two at a price much lower than its market value. Also acquitted were four retired generals who served as board members of the association.

Alaa, a wealthy businessman, and Gamal, his father's one-time heir apparent, are facing a separate trial on other corruption charges. They have been held in detention since April 2011, two months after their father resigned in the face of a popular uprising.

A small group of Mubarak supporters in the courtroom cheered the verdict. "Oh Gamal Mubarak, the presidency awaits you," they chanted.

Shafiq, a career air force officer like Mubarak, has lived in exile abroad since he was narrowly defeated by Islamist Mohammed Mursi in a presidential run-off in June last year.

Security officials at Cairo's airport said the verdict repealed standing instructions that Shafiq must be arrested on arrival at any of the country's entry ports, clearing the way for his return. It is not clear whether Shafiq plans to resume his involvement in politics.

Meanwhile, the authorities arrested Mohammed Adel of April 6, one of several youth movements that led the 2011 uprising.

Lawyer Gamal Eid said Adel and five others from the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights in Cairo were seized along with computers during the raid early yesterday. All six were blindfolded and handcuffed when taken to an unknown location where they were kept for seven hours.

Eid said the six were later taken to a police station before the five were released. Adel remained in police custody.

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