Egypt fines Mubarak for cutting off mobiles during uprising

Arab World Materials 28 May 2011 19:47 (UTC +04:00)

An Egyptian court on Saturday fined former President Hosny Mubarak and two former officials 540 million Egyptian pounds (90.5 million dollars) for cutting off mobile and internet services during January's protests against his rule, DPA reported.

This is the first court ruling against Mubarak since a popular uprising forced him to step down on February 11.

The administrative court fined Mubarak 200 million pounds, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif 40 million pounds, and former interior minister Habib el-Adly 300 million pounds for "damaging the national economy," the verdict said.

The fines are to be paid from their personal funds to the country's treasury, it added.

The court, however, refused to cancel the licenses of the country's three mobile phone operators, or to put in place measures against cutting the services in future.

Internet and mobile phones were blocked for days starting January 28, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets, demanding the ouster of Mubarak and his regime.

One of the operators, Vodafone, issued a statement few days later saying they were instructed to suspend services and obliged to comply under Egyptian law.

Activists used social networking websites and text messaging to organise the anti-government rallies, which later spread to other Arab and north African countries.

Mubarak is currently in hospital, after suffering apparent heart problems during questioning after stepping down from power.

Activists have been demanding revenge for the death of over 840 protesters during the nationwide uprising, saying that speedier trials are needed for Mubarak and his aides.

Over 6,000 people were injured in the uprising, some of them permanently.

Along with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, Mubarak will be tried in a criminal court for alleged involvement in killing protesters and corruption.

Earlier this week ex-interior minister Habib el-Adly, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on separate charges of embezzlement.

El-Adly, who served as interior minister for over 20 years under Mubarak, is also facing trial on charges of ordering the lethal attacks against demonstrators.