By: Emily Crane
The Criminal Court in Cairo ruled in favour of Safwat Al-Sherif and his appeal to be released from temporary custody on Wednesday, according to state-owned news agency Al-Ahram.
The former speaker of the Shura Council was charged in August with accruing EGP 300m in illicit gains throughout his time in public office as chairman of General Authority of Information, head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), minister of information, and speaker of the Shura Council. He was also accused of using his position as Minister of Information to provide his sons with prime TV slots in which to broadcast commercials for their corporations.
The charges against Sherif have been dropped due to insufficient evidence, according to Emad Mubarak, director of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. Sherif’s lawyer, Gamil Said presented a document to the court alleging that Sherif’s son did not apply for tenders on advertising and media spaces. However, this is in direct contradiction with the prosecutor general’s findings, said Mubarak. He attributes the court’s decision to “the usual shortcomings and inefficiencies of investigations done by the prosecutor’s offices that lead to a lack of concrete evidence”.
“The evidence has somehow managed to disappear,” said Mubarak. “Where is it? I don’t know. That’s the problem. Just like the evidence of police murdering protesters. Such evidence always seems to manage to disappear.”