El-Awa's press conference in Fayoum (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Presidential hopeful Mohamed Selim El-Awa condemned proposed legislation that could see disgraced Mubarak-era officials walk free in exchange for returning illegally acquired assets.
"The criminal who had the upper hand in killing of our sons [during the 2011 uprising] should not be reprieved by just returning some of the money smuggled outside the country," El-Awa said at a press conference in Fayoum, Friday, in a thinly veiled reference to toppled president Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's ousted leader is currently being tried for suspected involvement in the killing of protesters as well as illicit profiteering.
"It would be a huge mistake if such a deal was cut; a mistake we cannot start building the new Egypt with," the Islamist candidate said. "This deal would squander the rights of the martyrs. I strongly oppose any financial benefit that would be achieved at the expense of the nation itself."
El-Awa joins opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, non-governmental organisation Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the parliamentary Socialist Alliance in publically condemning the draft legislation.
Finance Minister Momtaz El-Saeed on Tuesday revealed that the government was negotiating with the disgraced officials because many of them had offered to pay back unlawfully obtained assets in exchange for their freedom.
The minister said negotiations were underway with former senior member of Mubarak's National Democratic Party Ahmed Ezz, former tourism minister Zoheir Garana, and former housing minister Ahmed Maghraby.
However, El-Saeed did not give details of the legal process under which the settlements would take place. The main charges in these cases are that public assets were sold at a price lower than their market value.