CAIRO: Egypt’s once widely feared interior minister Habib El-Adly is to appear before a criminal court on March 5 accused of money laundering, judicial sources told AFP on Sunday.
El-Adly would be the first of toppled president Hosni Mubarak’s regime to face trial.
He was arrested on Feb. 17, along with tourism minister Zoheir Garranah and steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, a senior member of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.
Nationwide protests that erupted on Jan.25 led to the overthrow of Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years under emergency law.
The protests that lasted 18 days and saw bloody clashes between protesters and El-Adly’s security forces, left at least 384 people dead and over 6,000 injured while scores were detained. Local NGOs put the number of victims close to 500 and are still gathering data.
Upon his resignation, Mubarak handed power to a military council that pledged to pave the way for a free democratic system in the Arab world’s most populous nation and vowed to prosecute all those found guilty of abuses during the protests.
Pro-democracy campaigners have repeatedly called for El-Adly to be held accountable for violence used against protesters, and for the use of force and torture by his security apparatus during his time as minister.
Egypt’s controversial emergency law which gives police extended powers of arrest, suspends constitutional rights and curbs non-governmental political activity, has been extended regularly years since 1981.