Cairo: Egyptian police have launched a massive hunt for Habib Al Adli, who served as an interior minister until the 2011 uprising that forced long-standing president Hosni Mubarak to step down.
Al Adli, 79, is wanted to serve a seven-year jail term after a Cairo court last month convicted him of embezzling state money while he was in office.
On Tuesday, the court turned down an appeal by Al Adli against the sentence, meaning his imprisonment is mandatory. Al Adli did not attend Tuesday’s appeal session.
His lawyer told the court that the ex-minister is staying in a hospital for a health problem. But the lawyer did not name the hospital or disclose Al Adli’s alleged health problem.
Al Adli has still the right to lodge one more appeal against the verdict.
His mysterious disappearance has brought the Interior Ministry under criticism amid accusations of purported involvement.
The ministry, which is responsible for security in Egypt, said that police had searched Al Adli’s house in the October 6 town on the outskirts of Cairo several times, but they did not find him.
Police have intensified the hunt for Al-Adli after the court rejected his appeal.
MP Mustafa Bakry said he has requested that incumbent Interior Minister Majdi Abdul Ghafar comes to the parliament to explain Al Adli’s disappearance.
“There is no doubt that his escape is deliberate and some seem to be implicated,” Bakry said in press remarks.
Al Adli already spent three years in prison on charges of exploiting police conscripts in his private properties.
In 2015, Egypt’s top appeals court acquitted him of complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolt, a case that also involved Mubarak. The former president was also exonerated earlier this year.
Al Adli served as interior minister for 14 years during which the opposition repeatedly accused him of mass rights abuses.