By Michael Georgy
An Egyptian court sentenced former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to three years in jail without parole on Saturday in the retrial of a corruption case.
Mubarak, who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years, and his sons Gamal and Alaa may not have to serve any jail time for those corruption charges because they already spent that amount of time in prison in other cases.
The former air force commander was toppled from the presidency during the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011 and raised hopes of democracy.
A previous court decision to drop charges against him of conspiring to kill protesters in the uprising, centred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and the release of some of his associates from jail have cast doubt over Egypt’s political transformation.
Last May, Mubarak was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of diverting public funds earmarked to renovate presidential palaces and using the money to upgrade family properties. His two sons were given four-year jail terms in the same case.
In January, Egypt’s high court overturned the convictions, and the case went back to court for retrial.
“The ruling of the court is three years in prison without parole for Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and Gamal Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and Alaa Mohamed Hosni Mubarak,” Judge Hassan Hassanein announced on Saturday.
Egypt is slowly recovering from the upheaval that followed Mubarak’s ouster.
Elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the latest man from the military to rule the Arab world’s most populous country, removed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi from power in 2013 after mass protests against his troubled one-year rule.
Security forces then cracked down on the Brotherhood and its supporters and later began jailing liberal activists opposed to what human rights groups call a return to repression.
The U.S.-backed Egyptian government says it is committed to democracy.
Many Egyptians turned a blind eye to the toughest security crackdown in the country’s history for the sake of stability after street protests and attacks by militant groups gutted the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy.
Militants based in the Sinai, who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since the army toppled Mursi.
On Saturday, one policeman and three Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in clashes in the city of Damietta, the Interior Ministry said.