- Middle East/North Africa
The Matareya Misdemeanor Court sentenced on Tuesday Essam Sultan, deputy chairman of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, to one month in prison and levied a LE50 bail for insulting former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.
Shafiq's lawyer, Hesham Mourad, said that Sultan had posted remarks about Shafiq on his Facebook page which, he said, constituted libel against his client. He said Sultan falsely accused his client of smuggling funds owned by the family of former President Hosni Mubarak abroad during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule.
“You [were betting] that I would take a plane and flee Egypt, but you fled instead, fearing me. If you are a real man come back to Egypt ... But you are aware you are involved in corruption," Sultan had said in his post. “When you were prime minister under the toppled president, funds owned by Ahmed Ezz, Gamal, Alaa and Suzanne Mubarak were smuggled abroad."
Sultan was also behind a lawsuit accusing Shafiq, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak of corruption in the sale of a plot of land owned by junior army pilots. The trial’s sessions are still ongoing.
Shafiq left Egypt to the United Arab Emirates after losing last year's presidential elections to incumbent president Mohamed Morsy. His opponents accuse him of fleeing possible corruption charges, while Shafiq maintains that he will return to Egypt.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm