Egypt: Mubarak, 86, given three years in jail

Former president Hosni Mubarak in the Cairo court. Picture: Reuters
Former president Hosni Mubarak in the Cairo court. Picture: Reuters
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OUSTED Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been jailed for three years by a court in Cairo after being found guilty of embezzlement.

The corruption case against the 86-year-old, who is being held at a military hospital, is one of two he has faced since being overthrown in a popular uprising in 2011 after three decades in power.

He is being retried over the killings of hundreds of protesters during the uprising.

His two sons, one-time heir-apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were also convicted of corruption and jailed for four years each.

The Mubaraks embezzled millions of pounds of state funds in the last decade of his rule. The funds were meant for maintaining presidential palaces but were instead spent on their private residences.

“He should have treated people close and far from him equally,” said Judge Osama Shaheen, as Mubarak looked on from a cage flanked by his sons.

“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 without ­regard.”

The three were also fined 21.1 million Egyptian pounds (£1.75m) and ordered to reimburse 125m Egyptian pounds to the state treasury. They have a right to appeal.

The Mubaraks had already returned about £10m, but the proceedings continued. Four other defendants were acquitted.

The Mubaraks have been in custody since 2011 but only the year since they were charged with embezzlement will be deducted from their sentences. They could have been jailed for up to 15 years each.

Mubarak was found guilty in June 2012 of failing to stop the killing of more than 900 protesters during the 18-day revolt against his rule and jailed for life.

His conviction was overturned in January 2013 but a retrial began in April 2013. He was set to be released in August last year pending his corruption trial, but was kept at a military hospital in south Cairo. He is likely to serve his sentence in the hospital, given his ill-health.

His sons are also being retried on separate corruption charges.

His former intelligence chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is tipped to be elected president next week.

The verdict may please some Egyptians who lived through Mubarak’s autocratic rule, but business executives loyal to him remain influential.

Rights groups say that abusive practices of the Mubarak regime continue under the military backed government. Since former army chief Gen Sisi toppled elected Islamic president Mohamed Morsi last July, courts have handed down tough sentences to members of his Muslim Brotherhood and secular activists, part of a state crackdown.

Many activists have been given harsher sentences for protesting than Mubarak received.

Senior members of the Brotherhood, including the spiritual guide of the Islamic movement, have been sentenced to death.

Some activists, reacting to the verdict on Twitter, compared the Mubaraks’ sentences to a Tuesday ruling against Mahienour el-Masri, a young revolutionary activist. Masri was sentenced to two years in jail for protesting without a permit.