CAIRO – Issuing the first ruling against ousted president Hosni Mubarak, an Egyptian court has fined Mubarak, his former prime minister and former interior minister 540 million Egyptian pounds ($90.64 million) for cutting off mobile phone and internet services during January's protests.
Mubarak, his former PM Ahmed Nazif and interior minister Habib al-Adly were jointly "ordered to pay the state 540 million Egyptian pounds from their personal funds," a judicial source told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Saturday, May 28.
They were charged with "damaging the economy after their decision to cut Internet and telephone services during the January 25 revolution," the source said, referring to the revolt which led to Mubarak's ouster on February 11.
Trying to stifle protests’ organizers, Mubarak ordered officials to cut internet and mobile services from January 28 ‘Friday of Anger’ to next Wednesday February 1.
The service cut has mainly targeted the use of internet social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, used by Egyptian youth to organize protests.
Telecoms operator Vodafone said in January it and other mobile operators had no option but to comply with an order from the authorities to suspend services in selected areas of the country during the peak of the anti-government demonstrations.
In February, Vodafone also accused the authorities of using its network to send pro-government text messages to subscribers.
The administrative court detailed ruling included fining Mubarak 200 million pounds, former PM Nazif 40 million pounds and former interior minister al-Adly 300 million pounds.
This was the first court ruling to be made against Mubarak since he was ousted on Feb. 11.
The 83-year-old Mubarak is currently under arrest in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh after being taken ill in detention.
The court ruling was issued hours after rumors were spread on internet websites yesterday about Mubarak’s fleeing Sharm El-Sheikh resort to an unknown destination.
According to Al-Wafd official website, anonymous witnesses said that “Mubarak was transferred in a white ambulance in about 11 pm on Saturday towards an airstrip behind Sharm El-sheikh international hospital where he used a landing helicopter.”
“The surveillance cameras inside the hospital disappeared as well as the private security guards in the second and the third floors,” witnesses added.
“The security services in front of the hospital were also minimized than its level on Thursday,” they added.
A few hours earlier on Friday, thousands of Egyptians gathered in central Cairo's Tahrir Square in what protesters called a second "Day of Anger" to push for faster reforms and to criticize the ruling military council's handling of the post-revolution phase.
Among their demands, activists called for speedy trial of those involved in killing protestors during the 18-day uprising. More than 800 protesters were killed during the unrest.
Along with graft accusations, Mubarak faces more serious charges.
Last week, Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were referred to a criminal court on charges of ordering the killing of anti-regime protestors and graft.
The prosecutor also referred to the military prosecution complaints against Mubarak that he had taken a commission from arms deals.
The ousted leader could face death sentence is found guilty.
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