Former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were convicted Wednesday of plundering the state treasury of millions of dollars, with the ex-leader sentenced to three years in prison and his sons to four years each.
The verdict by a Cairo court came more than three years after the revolution that drove the 86-year-old Mubarak from power following almost three decades of absolute rule. During his reign, he and his family lived a life of luxury amid Egypt’s overwhelming poverty, with private mansions and palaces furnished and renovated with public funds, according to prosecutors.
The three were fined 21.1 Egyptian pounds, which is the equivalent of about $3 million, and ordered to reimburse the state an additional 125 million pounds, or about $17.9 million. They had paid back some diverted funds before the proceedings began.
Mubarak has been in custody at a military hospital in Cairo, and was expected to remain there. His lawyers will likely argue that he is too ill and frail to serve prison time. The ex-leader still faces a retrial on charges related to the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the Tahrir Square uprising of 2011.
Mubarak and his sons -- Gamal, whom he had tried to anoint as his successor, and Alaa, a business magnate -- can appeal Wednesday’s verdict. If the sentence is upheld, they will receive credit for time already served. Four co-defendants were acquitted.
In the defendant’s caged dock, Mubarak sat impassive in dark glasses and a suit and tie, his hair still dyed jet-black, as the judge sternly lectured him over embezzling public funds while the country faced such enormous needs. His sons, who also face additional graft charges, were wearing white prison uniforms.
Egyptians were initially transfixed by images of a once all-powerful leader brought into court in the two cases -- at times so enfeebled he was carried in on a stretcher. But the shock value has diminished as the legal proceedings dragged on for months, then years.
Hassan is a special correspondent.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times