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Egypt charges former PM with corruption

Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafiq was referred for trial Tuesday on corruption charges, according to the country's authorities. Egypt's last prime minister under the 30-year regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], Shafiq stands accused of misusing public funds [AP report] while in office as minister of civil aviation. The charges against him derived from his time as the chairman of a housing association when he sold parcels of land to Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa, for substantially less than their value. The two sons are also facing separate trials [JURIST report] for insider trading. Shafiq argued that the charges against him are politically motivated. He was named prime minister during the last part of Mubarak's regime but was fired after Mubarak's resignation.

Shafiq is one of the many former politicians under Mubarak's regime who are facing corruption charges. Last week former culture minister Farouq Hosni was accused of illegally obtaining 27 million Egyptian pounds (USD $4.5 million) during his term as culture minister. In August the former secretary for Mubarak's political party, Safwat El-Sherif, was referred to a criminal court [JURIST report] on corruption charges. He was accused of having abused his office by obtaining real estate at discounted prices and illegally obtaining $49.2 million. In July an Egyptian court rejected pleas to release [JURIST report] Mubarak's two sons while they await trial. Their lawyer argued that his clients are detained unlawfully because they were arrested for a misdemeanor and not for a felony which would allow authorities to detain an individual only up to six months, a term that the Mubaraks already served. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others, were charged [JURIST report] with stock market fraud and using unfair trading practices and illegally manipulating the market. Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life [JURIST report] after an Egyptian court found him guilty of complicity to kill protesters during the Arab Spring protests [JURIST news archive]. During the protests that resulted in the overturning of Mubarak's 30-year regime, Mubarak ordered government officials to use gunfire and other violent measures to subdue protesters, causing more than 850 deaths [JURIST report]. Mubarak's trial ended in February with the chief prosecutor asking the court in his closing remarks to issue a death sentence [JURIST reports] against the former ruler.

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