Egypt court returns ex-president Mubarak's 2 sons to prison

In this Sept. 14, 2013 file photo, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seated center left, and his two sons, Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak attend a hearing in a courtroom in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Egypt court returns ex-president Mubarak's 2 sons to prison

  • The Mubarak sonswere taken to a prison south of Cairo after the hearing, according to officials.
  • The detention of the two brothers came as something of a surprise given that the trial has been proceeding without incident.

CAIRO: Acting on a judge's order, Egyptian police detained the sons of former president Hosni Mubarak on Saturday along with three others in connection with insider trading charges for which the five are on trial, security officials said.
They said the arrests were ordered by judge Ahmed Aboul-Fetouh before he adjourned the case's hearings until Oct. 20. The Mubarak sons — wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak's one-time heir apparent Gamal — were taken to a prison south of Cairo after the hearing, according to the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
The detention of the two brothers came as something of a surprise given that the trial has been proceeding without incident. It was not immediately clear if their detention has anything to do with a recent warning to Gamal Mubarak by a newspaper editor close to the government to abandon any political ambitions.
The two sons and their father were sentenced to three years in prison following their conviction of embezzling funds set aside for the restoration and maintenance of presidential palaces, using the money to upgrade their private residences. The sons were released in 2015 for time served, while Mubarak walked free last year. The trio paid back to the state the money they embezzled.
The three were first detained in April 2011, two months after a popular uprising forced Mubarak to step down after nearly 30 years in power. After a long trial, Mubarak was acquitted of killing protesters during the 18-day uprising against his autocratic rule.
The ongoing insider trading trial centers on the buying by the two brothers of a large number of shares in a local Egyptian bank that they allegedly knew was to become the target of a takeover by an Arab Gulf investor, a move that was virtually certain to dramatically drive up share prices.
One of the five ordered detained on Saturday is investment banker Hassan Heikal, son of Mohamed Heikal, a confidant of Egypt's late nationalist leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser and the author of a series of books giving insider accounts of Egypt's wars and peacemaking with Israel. He died in 2016.
Preventing Gamal from succeeding his father was among the chief motives for the 2011 uprising and the military's subsequent support for the revolt. The years that followed saw most pillars of Mubarak's regime go on trial on corruption or power abuse charges, but almost all of them have since been acquitted or walked free after repaying part or all the funds they had illegally amassed.
But while most Mubarak regime luminaries have since lived quietly on the sidelines, second-string Mubarak loyalists have found their way back to public life under the rule of general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, particularly in parliament, a mostly rubber-stamp chamber packed with government supporters, and the media.
However, Gamal Mubarak's frequent public appearances and the relatively warm reception he has received from members of the public have drawn the ire of El-Sissi's supporters.
Yasser Rizq, possibly the closest newspaper editor to El-Sissi, sternly warned Gamal Mubarak in a May article against harboring political ambitions. He suggested that Mubarak's son may have forged an alliance with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to run for president when El-Sissi's second, four-year term ends in 2022.


Jordan’s king urged to bolster UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem

Girls play in their school yard in the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. Israel has frozen plans to demolish the village that has drawn the world’s attention. (AFP)
Updated 24 October 2018
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Jordan’s king urged to bolster UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem

  • The call came in an open letter to King Abdullah in his capacity as custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites
  • If a UNESCO fact-finding mission arrives in Jerusalem too late, it may not find real facts to be documented: letter

AMMAN: Religious and political figures in Jerusalem urged Jordan’s king to coordinate with the Palestinian president and the UN to obligate Israel to implement resolutions passed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding the city.

The call came in an open letter to King Abdullah in his capacity as custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites. 

“If a UNESCO fact-finding mission arrives in Jerusalem too late, it may not find real facts to be documented,” the letter said.

“The mission will find only an altered status quo, faked history, and important monuments and archaeological layers would be removed or Judaized.”

Wasfi Kailani, director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News: “The issue of Jerusalem is always a high priority for the king, and Jordan will be studying the appeal from all aspects before making a decision as to the next steps.”

Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim-Christian Committee and a signatory to the letter, told Arab News: “This appeal reflects clear Christian-Muslim unity in the face of continued and daily Israeli violations, especially in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He expressed hope that the issue will reach the International Criminal Court (ICC), but said: “Unfortunately, US hegemony has rendered many of these institutions totally impotent.”

The latest UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem — sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan — said: “The Old City of Jerusalem and its walls, a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger, is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” 

It reaffirmed that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem… are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”