Egyptian court clears Brotherhood leader of money laundering charges

The State Security Emergency Court on Monday acquitted Osama Suleiman, a Muslim Brotherhood leader and chairman of the board of directors of the Sabah Exchange Company, of charges of money laundering and financing an outlawed organization.

In January 2011, the same court sentenced in absentia four defendants including Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, former Deputy Secretary General of the Egyptian Medical Association, Islamic preacher Wagdi Abdel Hamid Ghoneim, and Saudi national Awad Mohamed al-Qarani to five years of hard labor. The fourth defendant in the case, businessman Ibrahim Mounir Mostafa, was sentenced to eight years of hard labor. Suleiman was sentenced to three years in prison and a 5.6 million Euro fine.

The defendants faced charges of money laundering and providing LE4 million in funds to the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization established in violation of the law with the purpose of disrupting constitutional provisions, state institutions and public authorities, to fund their activities from January to June 2009.

Suleiman appealed the ruling and his retrial began on 24 March. His case was argued by presidential candidate Mohamed Selim al-Awa.

The retrial proceedings were only held for Suleiman, as he was the only defendant not sentenced in absentia, while the other four defendants remain at large.

During the hearing, Awa and the rest of the defense team said the charges against Suleiman were not consistent with reality or the law, demanding Suleiman’s acquittal saying the Brotherhood was no longer a banned organization, not to mention the fact that one of its members is now running in the upcoming presidential election.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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