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High-profile corruption convictions in Egypt and Tunisia

Arab Region - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In a trial lasting six minutes, the month of June saw former Egyptian Minister of Finance, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, sentenced in absentia to thirty years in prison and fined 35.8 million Egyptian pounds on various counts of profiteering and abusing state and private assets. Boutos-Ghali's conviction came two days after an Egyptian court sentenced former President Hosni Mubarak and former Ministry of the Interior Habib el Adly to life sentences for their involvement in the suppression of demonstrations in January of this year.

And on June 20, former President of Tunisia Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, Leila, were sentenced in absentia by the Palais du Justice in Tunis to 35 years in prison for theft and unlawful possession of foreign currency, archaeological artifacts, drugs, and weapons. The court also ordered that the pair pay fines totaling ninety-one million Tunisian dinars.

The extent to which these convictions will be upheld and enforced is a matter left to time. Equally important, if not more, is the commitment of new and future governments to rebuilding a system that ensures transparent and accountable governance under the auspices of the rule of law.


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