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Egypt ex-culture minister acquitted of corruption charges

An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted former culture minister Farouq Hosni, who had served under ousted president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], on charges of corruption and illegal enrichment. Prosecutors alleged [JURIST report] in September that Hosni had illegally acquired $3 million [AFP report] and had failed to account for $1.5 million. Hosni was referred to criminal court after an investigation by Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority in which the Hosni could not provide evidence demonstrating the sources of all of his wealth. Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority had also frozen Hosni's personal bank assets [RIA Novosti report], arrested his property and demanded compensation for funds he had illicitly gained from the state. Hosni had faced a travel ban during the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] in February 2011, which was lifted some time later.

Hosni is one of many former officials who have faced corruption trials since the end of Mubarak's 30-year regime. In August the former secretary for the Mubarak's political party, Safwat El-Sherif, was referred to a criminal court [JURIST report] for abusing his office by obtaining real estates 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, although their lawyer argued they were detained unlawfully for longer than permissible under Egyptian law. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others, were charged [JURIST report] with stock market fraud, using unfair trading practices and illegally manipulating the market. Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] after an Egyptian court found him guilty of complicity to kill protesters. 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 over 850 deaths [JURIST report].

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