Egypt Sentences Former Finance Minister

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt's former finance minister has become the latest high-ranking official who served in former President Hosni Mubarak's government to be convicted of corruption.

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced Youssef Boutros Ghali to 30 years in prison on charges that include misusing public funds. Investigators say Ghali used cars waiting in customs for his personal use and misused his position to personally benefit from finance ministry funds.

Ghali was convicted in absentia. He is believed to have fled the country and is being sought by Interpol.

Egypt's interim military rulers have been bringing a series of former officials to trial, including former President Mubarak himself. On Wednesday, the government announced that the trial for Mr. Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, will begin August 3.

The three face charges of fraud and orchestrating the killings of demonstrators in the anti-government protests that led to Mr. Mubarak's February resignation.

In another development, the country's public prosecutor has referred 48 Muslims and Christians to criminal court for their involvement in sectarian clashes last month that left at least 12 people dead.

The suspects are facing charges that include premeditated murder, incitement to sectarian violence and arson.

The deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians broke out May 7 in a working class district of Cairo , creating challenges for Egypt's new military rulers as they seek to maintain security.

Of the 48 accused, 22 are in custody while a search is under way for the other 26.