Egypt court convicts former Mubarak regime minister in corruption case

[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Sunday convicted Zohair Garanah, the former tourism minister under the Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] regime, on corruption charges. As a result of the guilty verdict, the court sentenced him to three years in prison [AP report]. 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 convicted [JURIST report] on Friday on charges of corruption. Garanah is currently serving five years [JURIST report] in jail 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 sentences. The court said that Garranah had illegally allocated the public land to the private developers. He will now serve the longer of the two sentences. His May sentence made him the second high-ranking state official to be found guilty of corruption since Mubarak was forced from office last February; however, 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 report].

While many of these trials end in convictions, in July, an Egyptian court acquitted three former ministers under Mubarak on charges of misappropriating state funds. The Cairo Criminal Court found three ministers not guilty [JURIST report]: Ahmed Maghrabi, former minister of housing, Yousef Boutros-Ghali, former minister of finance, and former minister of information Anas el-Fiqqi. This verdict was the first time former ministers of Mubarak have been found not guilty on corruption charges. 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 [AP report] who feel that the Cairo criminal court is rushing corruption trials while failing to bring more cases for human rights abuses against protesters.

 

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