Mubarak's oil minister freed after 23 months in jail

Ahram Online, Thursday 28 Mar 2013

Egyptian former oil minister Sameh Fahmy has been released from jail pending retrial

Former Egypt's oil minister, Sameh Fahmy (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s criminal court on Thursday released former minister of petroleum Sameh Fahmy as the court of cassation ordered his retrial over the Egypt-Israel gas case earlier this week.

Fahmy who served under toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has spent roughly 23 months in custody despite Egyptian criminal code saying the maximum period of detention waiting for the appeal is ranging between 6 and 18 months.

Egyptian Business tycoon Hussein Salem, currently in Spain, and Fahmy were both sentenced to 15 years in jail in June 2012 for squandering public funds in a gas deal with Israel.

Egypt agreed to provide Israel with natural gas in 2005 in a 20-year deal built on the landmark 1979 peace accords. The public prosecution claimed the agreement cost Egypt over $714 million.

Egypt unilaterally terminated its natural gas export contract with Israel in April 2012.

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