CAIRO: Egypt’s Court of Cassation acquitted on Saturday a former MP and member of the ruling National Democratic Party of charges of manufacturing and distributing defective blood bags he supplied to public hospitals through his company, Hidelina.
Former MP Hani Sorour and all six defendants, including Sorour’s sister, were acquitted.
This ruling overturns a verdict issued by the Cairo Criminal Court last November in which Sorour was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison and ordered to pay the court a LE 3,695,000 fine as well as to repay the same amount to the state treasury.
Sorour was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in January 2007.
Last February, Parliament Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour announced the expulsion of the National Democratic Party MP from the People’s Assembly, following a majority no-confidence vote.
The PA’s vote came after the constitutional and legislative committee presented a report to the effect that the verdict disqualifies Sorour from parliamentary membership.
At the time, MPs applauded the PA’s decision to expel the convicted MP.
"This is a sound decision which the majority of us have voted for,” NDP MP Heidar Al-Boghdadi said, stressing that it proved that members from the ruling party do not enjoy special status.
The court proceedings against Sorour began in mid-2007 when an employee at the health ministry, Soheir El-Sharkawi, blew the whistle on 200,000 defective blood bags in the ministry’s storage which she alleged were infected with bacteria and fungi likely to cause cancer and hepatitis.
Hidelina, the factory owned by Sorour, was the manufacturer of these bags.
In April 2008, the Cairo Criminal Court pronounced Sorour and six others involved innocent of charges that he supplied defective blood bags to public hospitals. However, the Cairo Court of Appeals annulled this ruling in November 2008 and ordered a retrial upon the recommendation of Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud.