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3-year jail term for Mubarak

Cairo, May 21: A criminal court here convicted former President Hosni Mubarak today of diverting millions of dollars in public money for his personal use in a case that rights advocates say could also now implicate the current Prime Minister and spy chief in a cover-up.

The court sentenced Mubarak, 86 years old and living under house arrest in a military hospital overlooking the Nile, to three years in prison. His sons Gamal and Alaa were each sentenced to four years for participating in the scheme. The court ordered the three to pay penalties and make repayments totaling more than $20 million.

Two years ago, the former President was convicted and received a life sentence in a separate case for directing the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that ended his rule in 2011, but even the presiding judge acknowledged at the time that the evidence was thin, and an appeals court has ordered a retrial.

Mubarak is expected to appeal the new verdict as well, but the evidence appears far more substantial.

His conviction today, involving his presidential palaces, arguably spares the new government installed by former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of the potential embarrassment of allowing Mubarak out on the streets.

Sisi, who led the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer, is set to win next week’s election to replace him.

The former field marshal has sought to portray his rise to power as an extension of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, while critics denounce a return to Mubarak-style autocracy.

Mubarak’s conviction turns on a diversion of funds with the complicity of the state-run construction company then headed by Ibrahim Mehleb, who is now the Prime Minister of the government Sisi installed. And a former corruption investigator involved in documenting the charges has filed a lawsuit alleging that Mubarak’s embezzlement was deliberately covered up by a former chief corruption watchdog, Gen. Mohamed Farid el-Tohamy, a former mentor to Sisi whom the field marshal named as chief of general intelligence.

 
 
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