Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat El-Shater (Photo: Reuters)
The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Khairat El-Shater's legal status remains questionable, following ambiguous details surrounding his most recent prison sentences.
The presidential hopeful is known to be one of the masterminds behind the Islamist organisation as well as being its main finance manager, having merged his expanding wealth with that of the group during the mid-90s.
El-Shater was the target of Hosni Mubarak government's political crackdowns for years. While he did time in prison five different times in his lifetime, two particular cases still haunt his political career.
In 1992, El-Shater was arrested and accused of money laundering in the case better known as "Salsabeel", the name of a computer information systems company which he founded together with Brotherhood member Hassan Malek.
In 2006, El-Shater was again accused of money laundering and of funding the then-banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
His case was referred to military prosecution, which sentenced him in 2008 to seven years in prison. He was only released four years later, after the ouster of Mubarak in February 2011, for health considerations.
Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, El-Shater’s lawyer, confirmed in several press statements that his client no longer faced any legal barriers in pursuing his political career. Nevertheless, Abdel-Maqsoud's explanation to that has been far from clear.
On Sunday during ONTV’sprime time public affairs programme Baladna Bel Masry, Abdel-Maqsoud told television presenter Reem Maged that El-Shater faced two accusations in the 2008 case, better known as the "Brotherhood militias" case.