Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, said the dismissal of corruption charges against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was a serious setback in the effort to fight graft and the abuse of power in the Middle East’s most populous country.
“This is a reversal of one of the most important outcomes of the Arab Spring: leaders being held to account for betraying the trust of their citizens. The acquittal of Mubarak and his sons of corruption charges sends a message that leaders can get away with decades of running a country while coffers are stripped bare,” said Transparency International’s Chair Jose Ugaz.
Mubarak, his two sons, an oil minister and a close business associate were cleared of charges related to bribery and illicit enrichment today.
The lack of transparency and information surrounding the court case, and the fact that charges were dropped suggest serious shortcomings in the judicial process. In Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, two out of three Egyptians surveyed felt that the judiciary is corrupt.
Article 30 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) obligates states to “take into account the gravity of offences” committed by corrupt officials. Egypt ratified UNCAC in 2005 and agreed to live up to its international commitments. Appropriate and necessary sentencing must be instituted corresponding to the seriousness of the corruption charges that Mubarak was convicted under.
Transparency International supports the attorney general’s effort to appeal the verdict and the legal reasons behind the decision. Mubarak must be held accountable for his abuse of power over the past three decades or else Egypt risks recreating the corrupt conditions of impunity that existed before the Arab Spring.
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