Egypt court says it cannot try Ahmed Ezz and Rachid

AFP, Saturday 26 Mar 2011

Cairo criminal court abstains from trying ex-governmental officials Rashid and Ezz, due to familial relationship between a judge and Ezz’s lawyer

An Egyptian court stated that it is unable to try a former minister and businessman for embezzlement of public funds, the official MENA state news agency said Saturday.

The trial of former Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid, who is not currently in Egypt, and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, currently in detention, had been set for Saturday in Cairo’s criminal court.

However, the court announced it could not judge them "given the family ties between one of the members of the court and one of the lawyers of Ahmed Ezz," MENA reported.

The case was returned to an appeals court, which needs to set a new trial date in a different jurisdiction.

Several ministers of former president Hosni Mubarak, who resigned last month amid a popular revolt, as well as some businessmen close to the regime, had their assets frozen and were banned from leaving Egypt.

The first member of Mubarak's regime to be put on trial was the much-reviled former Minister of Interior Habib el-Adly, whose security forces were given wide powers of arrest under the emergency law.

Adly is being tried on charges of embezzlement, to which he pleads not guilty, and is also charged with ordering the fatal shootings of demonstrators during the uprising that overthrew Mubarak's regime.

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