Mubarak fraud conviction overturned

mubarakA court in Egypt has overturned the convictions for embezzlement of former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons and ordered a retrial.

Mr Mubarak was jailed for three years in May after being found guilty of fraudulently billing the government for $14m (£9.3m) of personal expenses.

But the Court of Cassation found legal procedures were not followed properly.

It was the last remaining case keeping Mr Mubarak behind bars. The 86-year-old has been in detention since April 2011.

Mr Mubarak’s lawyer told the BBC he hoped his client would soon be released from Cairo military hospital, where is being held.

Charges of conspiring in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that ended his rule in 2011 were dropped in November.

The former president and his sons – Alaa, 53, and Gamal, 51 – were also cleared of two separate corruption charges.

Even before today’s verdict, his lawyers said he was entitled to be freed because he had already spent three years in prison, when pre-trial detention is included.

A source in the Egyptian prison service told the BBC the former president would be released, once they had calculated the days already served.

Legally he may be entitled to his freedom, but political considerations are likely to play a role.

If he reappears in public – just four years after the revolution which unseated him – it will deepen the divisions here, and could provoke fresh unrest on the streets.

That’s something the current Egyptian leadership may prefer to avoid.

There’s speculation that the former leader may opt to remain in the military hospital overlooking the Nile, where he has been serving his sentence. One newspaper report suggested his family was concerned about ensuring his safety outside the hospital.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top appeals court, announced that it had overturned the three men’s convictions for embezzlement and ordered a retrial at a brief session on Tuesday morning.

At the original trial, prosecutors alleged that Mr Mubarak and his sons had billed the government for more than 100,000 Egyptian pounds of personal expenses – including utility bills, interior design, landscaping, furniture and appliances – for several private homes and a public palace that was fraudulently transferred to their ownership. —

BBC

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