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HomeMiddle EastMubarak Official Cleared of Charges by Egypt Court

Mubarak Official Cleared of Charges by Egypt Court

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
February 24, 2015

A Cairo court on Tuesday acquitted former President Hosni Mubarak’s longtime interior minister of the last of several criminal charges that have kept him behind bars, opening the potential for his release.

The acquittal of the former minister, Habib el-Adly, is the latest in a long string of rulings since the 2013 military takeover that have exonerated former officials jailed after the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt. Other decisions, meanwhile, have sent many of the uprising’s young leaders to prison.

Mr. Adly presided over Egypt’s notoriously brutal internal security forces from 1997 through 2011, and he was among the most widely loathed figures in the Mubarak government. During the 2011 uprising, demonstrators demanded his execution, chanting or carrying signs calling for his hanging.

He was acquitted on Tuesday of charges that he had improperly awarded a $12 million contract for the manufacture of license plates to a German company without an open bidding process. An appeals court had overturned a previous conviction on the same charges and ordered a retrial.

Another court had already cleared Mr. Adly of charges that he directed the killing of unarmed civilian demonstrators during the 2011 protests. He was tried alongside Mr. Mubarak, and last fall a court dropped the charges against both men.

Mr. Adly may face other corruption charges, but he has exceeded the maximum period of incarceration without a conviction allowed under Egyptian law, potentially opening a path to his release.

Prosecutors had also charged Ahmed Nazif, a former Mubarak prime minister, in the same license plate case. The same court acquitted him on Tuesday as well.

The ruling in their favor came just a day after a court imposed a five-year prison sentence on Alaa Abd El Fattah, the latest in a series of prominent leader of the 2011 uprising who are now behind bars.

Mr. Abd El Fattah, a left-leaning activist, pioneered the use of the Internet to rally opposition to the abuses of Mr. Adly’s Interior Ministry, He was convicted of participating in an unauthorized demonstration in the fall of 2013 against the military trial of civilians under the current military-backed government.

Public reaction to Mr. Adly’s acquittal was muted on Tuesday despite the strong emotions his name has long aroused. Nearly all of the private news media still allowed to operate in Egypt are strongly supportive of the current government, and there was little commentary on the decision in Egyptian news outlets.

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(via NY Times)