An Egyptian court has acquitted two sons of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq on corruption charges. This paves the way for Shafiq to return to the country from self-imposed exile.
The Cario criminal court handed down not guilty verdicts in the corruption case against former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Alaa and Gamal Mubarak (pictured above with their father, seated).
Prosecutors had accused Shafiq of selling four hectares of state-owned land to Mabarak's sons in 1995 at a price well below market value.
The Mubaraks appeared at the court session, held in a makeshift courtroom in the Police Academy on the outskirts of Cario. Shafiq was tried in absentia after fleeing to the United Arab Emirates shortly after losing the 2012 presidential election to Islamist Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The acquittal ruling vindicates my honor,” independent newspaper al-Masry al-Yourn quoted Shafiq as saying following Thursday's ruling. He reportedly also said he would return to Egypt.
Security officers stationed at Cario airport, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the ruling repealed instructions that Shafiq must be arrested upon entry to the country.
It is not clear if Shafiq will resume his role in politics, should he return to Egypt.
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, along with their father, are being tried on other corruption charges. They have been detained since April 2011, two months after the former president resigned during an uprising against his 29-year rule.
Egypt's former president was initially sentenced to life imprisonment for failing to put an end to the killing of protestors during the 2011 uprising. But, an appeal saw him acquitted. He is now being re-tried on those charges.
jlw/ipj (AP, AFP, Reuters)