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New Detention Ordered for Mubarak
April 7, 2013

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Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered former President Hosni Mubarak detained for 15 days, pending an investigation on renewed charges of corruption. Allegations are that he took more than $150 million in government funds earmarked for presidential palaces and spent the money instead on private residences for himself and his two sons.

Talaat Abdallah, the Prosecutor General, also banned public statements about the corruption investigation, which is taking place in the shadow of Mubarak's retrial for his part in the deaths and injuries of thousands of protesters in 2010 and 2011. Mubarak, 84, is currently in a military hospital, his ill health preventing him from serving his life sentence in prison.

The detention order means that he will not attend the retrial, which begins later this week.

Earlier, a top court had handed down an acquittal of Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, on charges of embezzling public funds. Also found not guilty were a former civil aviation minister and the former head of Egypt Air. Shafik was a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, losing to Mohamed Morsi.

The latest judicial dramas will play out against a background of continued unrest, as Egyptians already disappointed with the new government's lack of progress in jump-starting the economy will have to come to grips with an increase in the price of cooking gas. The government normally attaches a large subsidy to the sale of butane cylinders, making the cooking gas affordable to most Egyptians, even the relatively poor. However, the government plans to rise the price about 60 percent, in order to raise more money and make the country's economic outlook more attractive for officials from the International Monetary Fund, who will be visiting the country in what Egypt hopes is a prelude to a $4.8 billion IMF loan.



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