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Ex-‘thug’ of Egypt party jailed for 28 years

Sabri Nakhnoukh claims he was singled out unfairly by the Brotherhood

Gulf News

Cairo: A criminal court in Alexandria on Wednesday sentenced the notorious “key thug” Sabri Nakhnoukh to 28 years in prison for possessing weapons and drugs, but claims he was targeted unfairly by the Brotherhood.

Nakhnoukh, has admitted in TV interviews that he facilitated large-scale vote rigging in favour of the now-defunct National Democratic Party.

The 49-year-old’s lavish villa in the upscale King Mariout area of Alexandria was raided in August after he was charged with thuggery, unlicensed possession of weapons, drugs possession, and involvement in the prostitution business.

In an interview conducted by Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al Akhbar after his arrest, he said: “I don’t deny my close relationship with Habib Al Adly,” Mubarak’s notorious interior minister, “but that was backed by patriotic motives”.

“Officials in the Mubarak era did not like to see opposition figures win seats in the elections, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Because of my connections and because all my men love me, Al Adly would ask me to block polling stations.

“As a favour to the country I was doing it for free - out of love, nothing more.”

Nakhnoukh had earlier accused Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Al Beltagy of being behind the charges against him, and of orchestrating his arrest due to Nakhnoukh’s “opposition to Brotherhood rule in Egypt.” He claimed his arrest represents an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to settle old scores.

“Al Beltagy accused Nakhnoukh on television of being involved in attacking peaceful protesters during the January 25 revolution,” said Nakhnoukh’s lawyer Gamal Sweid.

“Nakhnoukh’s arrest is not justified, and has been ordered directly by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the aim of “getting rid of all the group’s opponents,” Sweid argued during the trial.