Cairo: Celebrated Egyptian actor Mohammad Ramadan has drawn scathing criticism after he released an image showing him with Jamal, the younger son of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Ramadan, one of the highest-paid actors in Egypt in recent years, last week posted on his Facebook page the picture with a caption reading: “With the respected man Jamal Mubarak”.
The younger Mubarak was rumoured to have been groomed to succeed his father in ruling Egypt before the long-time president was forced to step down in a 2011 uprising. Jamal was also an influential member of Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party.
Ramadan’s appearance with Mubarak Jr went viral and triggered a chorus of condemnation.
“So people died in the  revolution just for you to upload a photo saying that Jamal Mubarak is a respected man,” said an Egyptian man called Mohammad Abdul Wahab in a post.
Another detractor wrote: “Is it appropriate for you to appear in a photo with one of those who participated in killing people?”
Jamal, his father and ex-security chiefs were acquitted in a long-running case related to complicity in killing hundreds of protesters in the 2011 revolt.
However, Jamal along with his older brother Alaa and their father were convicted in a separate case of embezzling state money originally allocated for renovating presidential palaces when Mubarak the senior was in office. They were sentenced to three years each in that case.
They served the terms and were later released from prison.
Faced with criticism, Ramadan has defended his appearance with Jamal. “I went down to the street both in January 2011 and June 30 ,” Ramadan said, referring to both popular uprisings against Mubarak and the now-outlawed Muslin Brotherhood. “I did this out of love for Egypt rather than out of hatred to anyone. Jamal Mubarak is now a civilian man, who has nothing to do with power. He is a respected Egyptian citizen. He deserves respect because he is from an Egyptian family,” the 29-year-old actor added in an online statement. “He is now a peaceful citizen, who can’t do harm to Egypt.”
There has been no comment from Jamal on the uproar.
Since their release from prison in late 2015, Mubarak’s two sons have made a string of appearances in public places. They have attended funerals of several public figures and football matches involving the national team.
These showings have triggered speculation in the media. Columnist Mohammad Amin this week questioned Jamal’s motives.
“Why does Jamal strive for public showing-up? Is he behaving as an ordinary citizen or as the son of a former president? Is he yearning for engaging in public work after the coming  presidential election?” Amin wrote in independent Al Masry Al Youm.
Already convicted, Jamal is ineligible to contest legislative and presidential elections until he is rehabilitated at court. “Some of his public photos are not innocent. They serve as opinion polls. He is trying to know where the wind is blowing,” Amin argued. “Jamal is gaining new ground every day.”
The 53-year-old ex-politician has shunned expressing political views since he walked free from prison.