- Middle East/North Africa
A judicial official said Monday that Egyptian authorities are considering all legal procedures to compel the Spanish authorities to extradite businessman Hussein Salem’s children, who fled to Spain during the 25 January uprising.
The state-run MENA news agency quoted the official as saying that the Spanish Constitutional Court on Friday rejected the extradition of Khaled and Magda Salem to Egypt.
According to the source, the ruling was based on the fact the pair are Spanish citizens and Spanish law bans extraditing citizens to other countries unless there is an agreement in place between them. The court also cited the UN Anti-Corruption Treaty in its decision.
A Spanish court ruled to hand the Salems over to Egypt in March, but they appealed the verdict.
Salem and his children are charged with several crimes, including money laundering in collaboration with the former president.
In June, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Salem, a close ally of former President Hosni Mubarak, and former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy to 15 years in prison for their involvement in Egypt’s notorious gas deal with Israel.
Egypt has an extradition request pending for Salem, who was arrested in Spain last June. On 1 November, the Spanish Supreme Court rejected Salem’s asylum request and ruled that his extradition could go ahead.
Prior to this, a Spanish national court had ordered the handover of Salem on the grounds that he is exploiting his Spanish nationality to evade extradition.
Salem fled to Spain during Egypt’s 25 January uprising last year. Following Mubarak’s resignation, Egypt called on Interpol to arrest Salem for bribery, abuse of power and squandering public money. The Spanish government then found evidence implicating him in money laundering in Spain.
Salem was accused of giving Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, luxury villas in Sharm el-Sheikh for free, although they are valued at more than 5 million euros, in return for Mubarak granting him more than 2 million square meters of land in the same area.
The Cairo Criminal Court acquitted the defendants on 2 June, saying the sales in question occurred more than 10 years ago, which is beyond the statute of limitations for non-state employees to be prosecuted on corruption charges.
Edited translation from MENA