World Bulletin/News Desk
An Egyptian court on Thursday acquitted former interior minister Habib al-Adly, who had served under longstanding autocrat Hosni Mubarak, of financial corruption charges, judicial sources have said.
Al-Adly had been accused of illegal profiteering and of laundering some 5 million Egyptian pounds (roughly $718,000).
The once-feared former minister was initially sentenced in mid-2011 to 12 years in prison and slapped with fines of over 4.8 million Egyptian pounds (roughly $694,000). He was later granted a retrial, however, after his lawyers appealed the sentence.
Al-Adly, along with Mubarak and his two sons, faces a number of other trials as well, which began following Egypt's 2011 uprising, which ended the elder Mubarak's 30-year rule.
In late 2012, Mubarak and al-Adly were both sentenced to 25 years in prison each for inciting the murder of anti-government demonstrators during the 18-day uprising.
The court later ordered a retrial, however, after the former president's lawyers successfully appealed the sentence.
Mubarak, who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for three decades, was toppled by a youth-led popular uprising in early 2011 as part of the so-called "Arab Spring."
Another Egyptian court on Thursday slapped three supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi with three-year jail terms, judicial sources said.
The anti-terror circuit in Zagazig court, in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, found the trio guilty of joining a terrorist group, writing offensive slogans against the army and police on walls, and incitement to violence, the sources added.
The three were tried in absentia.
Egypt's Sisi mulls pardon for some post-June 30 prisoners
Meanwhile, newly elected Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is considering granting an amnesty to a number of prisoners who were not involved in rioting or acts of violence, including some political activists, well-informed sources said Thursday.
"A list of prisoners who weren't involved in either violence or rioting is now being drawn up and will be referred to the president later," the sources, who are close to decision-making circles in Egypt, told Anadolu Agency.
They did not, however, provide the number of prisoners to be pardoned, but said they would include some people arrested following last year's June 30 demonstrations, which precipitated the ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.
The sources added, however, that the list would not include any leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails.
They said the list could include some low-ranking Brotherhood members who were not involved in violence in recent months.
A security expert, meanwhile, said the law gave the president the right to pardon prisoners or commute their sentences.
"A list is now being drawn up of prisoners who can be granted amnesty," Rifaat Abdel-Hamid, a former assistant interior minister, told AA.
He added that the expected amnesty would be granted on the occasion of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which will begin in another two weeks.
Prisoners and human rights will be the new president's toughest internal challenges, according to many observers.
Several international rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have called on al-Sisi to open an independent inquiry into recent allegations of torture in Egyptian prisons.
In his Sunday inauguration address, al-Sisi said that he looked forward to a new era of reconciliation – but not with those accused of committing crimes.
There is no credible estimate for the number of people detained since last year's June 30 demonstrations, which were followed three days later by Morsi's ouster and imprisonment.
Some independent groups, however, including the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, have put the number as high as 22,000.
The authorities, for their part, continue to deny the existence of any political detainees in the nation's prisons.Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2014, 22:52