Egypt acquits ex-minister over Israel gas deal

Egypt acquits ex-minister over Israel gas deal

Sameh Fahmy was sentenced in 2012 to 15 years for allegedly selling natural gas at below-market price

Egypt's former oil minister Sameh Fahmy. (Photo credit: Screenshot from al-Jazeera broadcast)
Egypt's former oil minister Sameh Fahmy. (Photo credit: Screenshot from al-Jazeera broadcast)

CAIRO — An Egyptian court acquitted on Saturday an oil minister who served under former president Hosni Mubarak in a retrial after a 2012 conviction for selling Israel natural gas at below-market price.

The Cairo court acquitted former oil minister Sameh Fahmy along with five other petroleum officials.

An appeals court ordered a retrial in March 2013 for the defendants after they were initially found guilty in 2012 and sentenced to between three and 15 years in jail.

Several Mubarak-era figures including the ousted autocrat have been acquitted in retrials after being initially indicted.

In November, Mubarak and his interior minister Habib al-Adly were cleared of charges of killing peaceful protesters during the 2011 uprising that unseated him.

Mubarak was also cleared in that trial of exporting gas to Israel at below-market price.

The sale of gas to Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 after four wars, was always controversial in the Arab world’s most populous country.

Sinai-based militants have continuously sabotaged the pipeline after Mubarak’s ouster in 2011 until the export deal was halted in April 2012.

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