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Shafiq, Mubarak sons’ trial begins

Lawyer claims ‘political revenge’ as Shafiq tried in absentia

Gulf News

Cairo: The lawyer of Ahmad Shafiq, the last premier of the Hosni Mubarak’s regime, on Sunday claimed that corruption charges pressed against his client were politically motivated.

“The case smells of political revenge after General Shafiq ran for president,” the veteran lawyer Farid Al Deeb told the Cairo Criminal Court at the opening of the trial.

Shafiq did not attend the hearing.

Shafiq, who lost in the final round of the presidential elections in June to Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Mursi, is charged with profiteering and wasting public money by selling state-owned land to Mubarak’s two sons Alaa and Jamal. Both are standing the same trial along with three former army pilots.

The investigative judge Osama Al Saidi said that Shafiq, a former air force general, sold 40,000 metres of state-owned land managed by an air force association to the Mubarak brothers below market prices.

Al Deeb, who is also a lawyer for Mubarak’s sons, accused the investigative judge of being biased.

Alaa and Jamal Mubarak, who are facing corruption charges in another case, told the court Sunday they are ready to return the land. The court said the hearings would resume on November 18.

The trial was held at a makeshift courtroom inside the Police Academy, which was the venue of a high-profile trial for Mubarak and his sons.

Shafiq left Egypt in late June, days after the election defeat. He has been staying in the UAE since.

Egyptian authorities have recently placed him on a watch list at border points pending investigations.

He is charged in another case related to alleged irregularities committed when he was aviation minister before becoming premier in the final days of Mubarak’s rule.

Shafiq claimed that the cases against him were politically motivated.