Egypt sentences former information minister

Judge sentences Anas el-Fikky to seven years in prison for squandering public funds from the state television union.

    Public airings of Mubarak's trial have stopped, but Fekky's sentence was aired on state TV [AFP]

    An Egyptian court has sentenced Anas el-Fikky, the former information minister, to seven years in prison for squandering public funds from the state television union.

    Fikky's conviction on Wednesday marked the latest by an Egyptian court for a member of former President Hosni Mubarak's cabinet.

    Judge Abdallah Abul Hashem also sentenced Osama el-Sheikh, the former head of the union, to five years on the same charges.

    Fikky was one of the most high-profile targets for anti-government protesters who took the streets in January, in part because of how state media vilified them during an uprising that forced Mubarak from power.

    Squandered millions

    Fikky was detained in February on suspicion of profiteering and wasting public funds. The ruling, which was aired on state television, was related to a case in which he and el-Sheikh were accused of squandering $1.6m by paying over the odds for a television drama series.

    The prosecutor had also charged Fekky with depriving the Radio and Television Union, which he ran, of about $1.9m by exempting private television stations from fees for live broadcasts of the 2009-2010 football season and the start of the 2010-2011 season.

    It said Fikky had done this to further his "personal interests as part of an attempt to impose his control and media policies on these stations". That case is still being heard.

    Earlier this month, Fikky was acquitted of separate corruption charges that he had demanded 36 million Egyptian pounds from the finance minister for media campaigns promoting Mubarak and his ruling party.

    Mubarak himself is on trial on charges that he ordered the use of deadly force against protesters in the 18-day uprising that toppled him in February.

    His two sons, businessman Alaa and one-time heir apparent Gamal, are also on trial on corruption charges.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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