Judiciary denies probing Mubarak over Hawass charges

Ahram Online, Tuesday 3 Apr 2012

As former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass continues to drag the Mubarak name into the case filed against him, the judiciary denies questioning former first lady Suzanne Mubarak over artefacts charges

Zahi Hawass
Former Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass (Photo: AP)

A judicial figure at the Public Funds Prosecution Office has denied reports circulated in different media outlets that former first lady Suzanne Mubarak was questioned in relation to charges filed against the former minister of state for antiquities, Zahi Hawass.  

Hawass is facing charges involving the squandering of public funds and the theft of Egyptian antiquities during his decades-long career as an archaeologist and later as secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and as minister of state for the recently-created Ministry for Antiquities.

On Monday the prosecution opened an investigation into Hawass, who faces seven charges filed against him by a number of archaeologists, including the editor-in-chief of a literary magazine.

In a Monday meeting with Ali El-Hawari, a lawyer from the Public Funds Prosecution Office, Hawass presented a number of documents outlining the inaccuracy of the charges filed against him, reported the Al-Ahram Arabic website.

El-Hawari ordered the formation of a committee made up of a number of experts from the judiciary and the antiquities field to study all the documents presented both by Hawass and the regulatory authorities.

He argued that all the proceeds from the exhibitions, which he either attended or hosted, were donated to the children's cancer hospital '57357' in Manial in Cairo, and a number of other projects by the Mubarak family for children.  

Hawass is accused of making a deal with the American Geographical Society to display rare Egyptian antiquities in exhibitions across the United States and Australia, which stands in violation of the 1983 Egyptian law on the protection of antiquities.

In 2003, Hawass allowed for the transfer and display of 143 objects from the Egyptian Museum to Washington DC, which are yet to be returned to Egypt.

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