Egypt court orders release of Mubarak's former chief-of-staff

[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered that the former chief-of-staff for deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive], Zakaria Azmi, be released from prison after he was granted a retrial in a corruption case. Azmi was brought to court on charges of illegally acquiring and concealing real estate gains and was sentenced in May 2011 to seven years in prison, along with a fine of 36.4 million Egyptian pounds. An appeals court ordered a retrial in Azmi's case earlier this month. A separate criminal court ruled that Azmi, who has been in detention for approximately 22 months, must now be released, as it is illegal to hold a suspect in prison for more than 18 months. He is still to abide by travel and financial restrictions, but will not be confined to his home. Four other high-ranking officials from Mubarak's fallen regime, including former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and former interior minister Habib el-Adly [JURIST news archives], were also granted retrials on Wednesday.

Many former officials have stood trial since the end of Mubarak's 30-year regime. In January an Egyptian appeals judge overturned Mubarak's conviction [JURIST report] and life sentence and ordered a retrial for the former president on the charge of failure to prevent the killing of more than 800 protestors in 2012. Also in January former culture minister Farouq Hosni, was acquitted of charges [JURIST report] of corruption and illegal enrichment. Last 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.

 

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