A senior Egyptian judge arrested on corruption charges has been found dead in his jail cell after he allegedly hanged himself, his lawyer said.

State news agency MENA also reported Wael Shalaby killed himself and the public prosecutor had ordered an autopsy after his body was found on Monday.

Shalaby, a deputy chief justice in the country's administrative courts system, resigned on Saturday, shortly before he was arrested and was charged the following day with taking a bribe.

"My client hanged himself using a scarf he was wearing. He was going through a terrible psychological state during his questioning," his lawyer Sayed Beheiry told Reuters news agency.

"It is very hard to be a big important judge and suddenly, you lose everything and sit in front of an investigator being accused of taking a bribe."


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Shalaby was also secretary-general of the Council of State, the umbrella organisation for Egypt's administrative courts. He was held days after the council's purchasing manager, Gamal al-Din al-Labban, was also arrested on corruption charges.

The public prosecutor has referred to the two arrests as part of the same case.

Local and foreign non-governmental organisations say corruption is rife in Egypt, while the government says it investigates all incidents, corruption investigations into judicial bodies are rare.

The prosecutor issued an order banning media reporting on the legal details of the Council of State corruption case.

Source: News agencies