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Egypt court acquits former ministers of corruption charges

Egypt's criminal court on Saturday acquitted former ministers of tourism and housing, Zohair Garanah and Ahmed al-Maghrabi, of charges of corruption. Both men were charged with profiteering and illegally selling state-owned land during their time as ministers under former president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive]. Garanah was originally convicted [JURIST report] of corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison in 2011, but a retrial [Albawaba report] was ordered in February. Al-Maghrabi was also convicted [JURIST report] and sentenced to five years in prison in 2011, but Egypt's Court of Cassation [ESIS backgrounder] canceled that verdict in December. Both men currently remain in prison in Cairo, however, on other charges.

Since the ousting of Mubarak [JURIST report] following the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] in 2011, the country has been working to prosecute Mubarak and members of his regime for corruption and other charges. Last month a court ordered the release [JURIST report] of former chief of staff Zakaria Azmi after an appeals court reversed his conviction for corruption charges and ordered a retrial. Weeks earlier, a court sentenced former interior minister Habib el-Adly [JURIST news archives] to abuse of power for forcing public workers to perform work on his home. Mubarak's own conviction and life sentence was overturned [JURIST reports], and a retrial was ordered in January. The judge who ordered the retrial did not release the reasons for his ruling, but a retrial had been anticipated after the trial judge made it clear that the prosecution lacked hard evidence to support the charges.

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