Former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq was acquitted in absentia by the Cairo Criminal Court.
The court heard the case presented by defendants’ lawyers and former presidential candidate Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, who was representing Ibrahim Menaa, a fellow defendant. The defence denied the charges, claiming the funds transferred from the Pilots Land Association were used for establishing the Suzanne Mubarak Park for public benefit, reported state-owned Al-Ahram. The defence argued that since the funds were used for the public good without any of the defendants making profits, they should be acquitted of the charges.
Shafiq travelled to the United Arab Emirates following his election loss and has not returned to Egypt. Ahmed Yousry, a lawyer with the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, said the acquittal in the major case would not guarantee that the former prime minister would return, pointing to the fact that Shafiq faces other charges. Therefore he is expected to remain on the airport arrivals blacklist past Sunday and would be arrested upon arrival to Cairo International Airport.
Shafiq was the minister of civil aviation under former president Hosni Mubarak before he was appointed prime minister by the ousted president. While he remains blacklisted, Interpol refused to arrest the former presidential candidate when Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdallah made the request.