We ask to what extent the preliminary results from Egypt’s presidential election reveal a country bitterly divided.
The two sons of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s ousted president, will face charges of stock market manipulation, the country’s public prosecutor has said, three days before a court was due to issue a verdict in a separate trial for their role in alleged corruption.
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, both in their 40s, are already standing trial with their father in a case in which the former president is facing charges of fraud, as well as complicity in the killing of protestors who rose up against him last year.
The verdict in that trial is expected on Saturday.
Mubarak’s eldest son, Alaa, is a businessman. His youngest son, Gamal, a former banker, was widely viewed as a being groomed for Egypt’s top job until Mubarak was toppled on February 11, 2011.
Mubarak, his family and his aides and associates were accused by protesters of amassing wealth illegally while leaving swathes of the country in poverty.
Egypt’s public prosecutor said in a statement on Wednesday that Alaa, Gamal and seven others, were referred to the criminal court on charges of violating stock market and central bank rules to gain unlawful profits through dealings in shares in Al Watany Bank of Egypt, a listed bank.
All those accused in the case were released on bail and barred from travel, except Gamal and Alaa, who were ordered to remain in detention and had their assets frozen pending the trial.
The public prosecutor’s statement said that others referred to trial alongside Mubarak’s sons included Yasser El Mallawany and Hassan Heikal, board members and joint chief executives officers of Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes.
The trial of Mubarak, 84, and his two sons began on August 3 last year.
It is the first time that an Arab head of state, toppled in a popular uprising, has appeared for trial in an ordinary court. Tunisia’s ousted president was tried in absentia while Iraq’s Saddam Hussein stood trial in a special court.
The prosecutions of the Mubarak family and its cronies had seemed to be part of a process of dismantling the old regime ousted in the uprising.
But Mubarak’s last prime minister and longtime protege, Ahmed Shafiq, is now one of two candidates heading into a runoff vote for president on June 16-17.
Shafiq was officially declared one of two top vote-getters, along with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, in the first round of presidential elections held on May 23-24.
The two will now go head-to-head in the runoff, with the winner expected to be announced on June 21.
His qualification to the runoff angered many Egyptians – some who protested the result. He is seen as an extension of the old regime and an affront to the uprising that, among other things, sought to end military rule.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s 31-year-old state of emergency – which gives the police extensive powers, suspends constitutional rights and strictly controls street demonstrations – could finally be declared over on Thursday.
The longstanding law expires and will be debated in parliament, where most of the representatives are expected to vote against its renewal.
Ending the law has been a key demand of the Egyptian opposition.
The Emergency Law was first imposed during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Since 1981 it has been extended every three years.