By Fatma Khaled
The North Cairo Court ordered the release on Wednesday of former president Hosni Mubarak in the Al-Ahram gifts case after repaying the value of the gifts received, following a trial at Tora Prison.
Mubarak had been accused of unlawfully receiving expensive gifts from state-run Al-Ahram, with the court having previously considered an appeal filed by Mubarak’s defense attorney Farid Al-Deeb, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
“Public prosecution have previously reconciled with other businessmen involved in the case such as Fathy Seroor and Zakria Azmy who were allowed to repay the value of the gifts in return for their release,” said Aly Atef, a human rights lawyer at Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).
Atef described the public prosecution as “deficient” for creating such opportunities for reconciliation, which Mubarak then used to pay for his own release.
According to Aswat Masriya, the total value of the gifts repaid amounted to EGP 18m.
He blamed the slow momentum of Mubarak’s trials in general and added that the former president should have not only repaid the gifts’ value but also should have been tried for this case it is considered a criminal case instead of being released.
The Tamarod campaign meanwhile released a statement denouncing the court’s decision and urged interim president Adly Mansour and interim prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi to detain Mubarak based on their legal authorities if he is not currently detained on other pending cases.
The statement added that former president Mohamed Morsi’s government had not announced any law to ensure transitional justice for political corruption or criminal acts a regime or individual.
Morsi’s failure in enacting such laws, Tamarod said, was motivated by fear of being tried for similar crimes as those under Mubarak’s regime.
The group added that they would exert their utmost effort in suggesting constitutional provisions that would take to trial any president or ministers accused of corruption and deficiency.
The campaign concluded that would organise a popular trial for Mubarak and announce its date soon.
The Cairo Criminal Court had previously found Mubarak not guilty in the Presidential Palaces case and has absolved him of charges of misusing public funds. Al-Deeb said the latter case was “fabricated” to keep Mubarak and his sons detained.