Cairo: Habib Al Adli, who served as interior minister under Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak, was caught and put in jail, authorities said on Tuesday, after his months-long mysterious disappearance.
The Interior Ministry said in a terse statement that police had located Al Adli, and led him to serve a seven-year-jail sentence handed down to him in a graft case in April.
However, his lawyer Farid Al Deeb said Al Adli had surrendered to police.
“My client was not a fugitive and did not leave the country as it was rumoured,” Al Deeb added in media remarks.
Last month, unconfirmed reports said Al Adli had illegally left Egypt for Saudi Arabia, allegedly to work as an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, a claim that Riyadh denied.
Egypt’s top appeals court is due on January 11 to hear Al Adli’s plea against the sentence issued by a lower court in the graft case. His presence before the top tribunal, officially called the Court of Cassation, is mandatory. The court’s verdict will be final.
In April, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Al Adli to seven years in prison on charges of embezzling state funds while he was in office.
His disappearance since then has brought the Interior Ministry under criticism amid accusations of purported involvement.
The ministry, which is responsible for security in Egypt, previously said police had searched Al Adli’s house in the October 6 township on the outskirts of Cairo several times, but they did not find him.
Al Adli, 79, already spent three years in prison on charges of exploiting police conscripts.
In 2015, Egypt’s top appeals court acquitted him of complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolt that forced Mubarak to resign, a case that also involved the former president. Mubarak was also acquitted earlier this year.
Al Adli served as interior minister for 14 years during which the opposition repeatedly accused him of mass rights abuses.