The Korea Herald


Egyptian ministry orders release of Mubarak’s wife

By 박한나

Published : May 18, 2011 - 18:54

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CAIRO (AP) ― Egypt’s Justice Ministry on Tuesday ordered the wife of deposed President Hosni Mubarak released from custody without bail, after she relinquished her disputed assets.

Suzanne Mubarak, 70, has turned over her property and money to the state valued at some $4 million. The move aimed to settle corruption allegations against her, but it was unclear whether she still faces trial.

In a statement, Essam el-Gouhari, head of a state body investigating illegal financial transactions by officials of the deposed regime, said it was decided to release Mrs. Mubarak because of “lack of justification for detention after she turned over all the money she amassed illicitly.”

Mrs. Mubarak was hospitalized over the weekend after she fainted and complained of chest pains during interrogation. She had been expected to be transferred to a women’s prison after medical treatment.

A court official said prosecutors first indicated that they would request bail, but the Justice Ministry later said no bail would be sought. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have claimed that Mubarak’s wife had millions in bank accounts in Egypt and owned a villa where she and her husband lived. It is not clear how much money the Mubaraks may have abroad. Some estimates range into the tens of billions of dollars.

The former president has been held in custody since last month on charges that include misuse of power and ordering attacks against protesters in the 18-day uprising that drove him from power in February.

A Tuesday report published by daily El-Shorouk said that Mubarak plans to release an audio appeal for amnesty in return for handing over all his holdings. The report cited unidentified Egyptian and Arab officials, but it could not be independently verified.

The report sparked a wave of criticism on social media sites, key elements in the original revolution that overthrew Mubarak. Facebook and Twitter messages called for rallies on May 27 under the banner, “I have not felt the change, I am going back to Tahrir,” the central Cairo square that was the center of the protests. It reflected disappointment with the way the Military Council, which took over from Mubarak, is running the country.

The Youth Revolution Coalition, made up of several youth movements the led uprising against Mubarak,rejected the idea that the deposed president could get off with just an apology and restoration.

“We are going to prosecute anybody who committed crimes, whatever the results and the sacrifices,” their statement said.

The statement warned officials that if they pardon Mubarak, his family or associates, “they will be sparking the revolution again.”

Also Tuesday, a Cairo court decided to release on bail a top Mubarak aide arrested last month in a corruption investigation.

Mubarak’s chief of staff, Zakariya Azmi, is among the highest ranking ex-officials to be jailed. He is accused of using his powerful position to amass a personal fortune.

Azmi is expected to pay the $33,600 bail on Wednesday, securing his release while awaiting trial.