Egypt’s Ahmed Shafik has been found “not guilty” on corruption charges less than a year after he fled the country.
He had been a senior commander in the Mubarak-era Egyptian Air Force and later served as former President Hosni Mubarak's final prime minister, from 31 January 2011 to 3 March 2011. When he lost in the June 2012 polls, he boarded a plane for Abu Dhabi.
Correctly surmising he would be next to be served with an arrest warrant after running as a moderate candidate in presidential elections against incumbent Muslim Brother-backed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, Shafik left the country just two days after losing the race.
By September, he was charged with embezzling public funds, but by then he had eluded the grasp of the Islamist authorities who now control Egypt.
Shafik, whose name still remains on a border crossing watch list, was instead tried in absentia on charges that he and two others had embezzled more than 23 million Egyptian pounds $3.4 million.
On Sunday all three were cleared of the charges, according to court adviser Ahmed Yousef.
But he is not yet safe: Shafik still faces another charge of corruption for allegedly allocating 40,000 sq. meters of state land to Ala’a and Gamal Mubarak, sons of the former president. They and their 84-year-old father, who is in poor health, remain in prison and are all charged with corruption as well.
The former president faces a new trial on Saturday after the court upheld an appeal on the life sentence his received over the deaths of protesters killed during the January 25 Revolution in Tahrir Square, ignited in 2011 by the region wide Arab Spring uprisings.
Mubarak still faces another trial on separate charges of corruption and embezzlement of public funds, which led to a 15-day remand that began last Sunday.