A Cairo court sentenced Egypt’s deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to three years in prison on corruption charges on Saturday — a punishment that authorities may deem as having already been served but one which, if it withstands appeal, would officially establish Mubarak as a convicted criminal years after the 2011 popular uprising that toppled him.
The case — dubbed the “presidential palaces” affair by the Egyptian media — was a retrial charging that Mubarak and sons embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of state funds over the course of a decade, diverting money meant to pay for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces to instead upgrade their private residences.
Mubarak had originally been sentenced to three years over the matter, and his sons to four, but they later appealed, sparking the retrial. As Egypt’s political tides shifted in the wake of his overthrow, he had been convicted of bearing responsibility for the deaths of protesters but was later acquitted, although that ruling now faces an appeal by prosecutors.
Inside the courtroom at a sprawling, locked-down police academy on the outskirts of Cairo, a dozen Mubarak supporters shouted in anger as Judge Hassan Hassanin announced his verdict, standing up on benches and pumping their fists into the air. The three defendants stood in a courtroom cage soundproofed with a glass enclosure.