Egypt refers former ministers to criminal court

Egypt's general prosecutor on Monday referred former interior minister Habib Al-Adly and former tourism minister Zoheir Garranah to the Cairo criminal court, the official MENA agency reported.

Adly is accused of money laundering and Garranah is charged with misuse of public funds, MENA said.

The two were sacked by former president Hosni Mubarak, who was struggling to defuse deadly anti-regime protests that eventually forced his resignation on February 11.

The once widely feared former interior minister was arrested last week along with Garranah and former housing minister Ahmed Al-Maghrabi.

Steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, a senior member of Mubarak's National Democratic Party, was also arrested.

Public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud had slapped a travel ban on all four and ordered a freeze on their assets.

MENA had said the asset freeze applied to Adly was linked to the transfer of some four million Egyptian pounds ($675,000, 500,000 euros) from a private contractor to his personal account.

Adly's security services had been accused by local and international human rights groups of rights abuses and torture.

Mubarak's 30-year-reign over the Arab world's most populous country came to an end after 18 days of nationwide protests organized by a loose conglomeration of young tech-savvy activists demanding democratic change.

At least 365 people died in the protests that erupted on January 25, Human Rights Watch said. At least 5,500 were wounded and scores detained.

(Published by The Daily News Egypt - February 22, 2011)

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