Egyptian PM sentenced to 1 yr in jail

Updated: 2013-04-18 00:21


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CAIRO - An Egyptian court sentenced Wednesday Prime Minister Hesham Qandil in absentia to a jail term of one year over failing to enforce a judiciary verdict to nationalize the Tanta Flax company, state-run al-Ahram online reported.

Egypt's Misdemeanor Dokki Court also ordered to remove Qandil from his post, and impose a fine of 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($290.21).

However, according the law, the rulings issued in absentia against serving state officials are primarily and considered as merely symbolic, since the officials can pay the fine and challenge the ruling.

In response, cabinet spokesman Alaa al-Hadidi described the court ruling as "partial" and said it was against the post of prime minister, not against Qandil personally.

"The verdict will be appealed after (we) get acquainted with its reasons that have not been written in detail," Hadidi said in a statement Wednesday, stressing that the verdict was issued in absentia and the cabinet has not been officially informed.

In September 2011, an administrative court decided to annul the privatization of Tanta Flax Company and to return it to the state.

The issue started when a number of workers of Tanta Flax Company filed a lawsuit claiming that the prime minister declined to carry out a judicial verdict that invalidated privatization of their company.

According to the verdict, the government has to revoke the contract of selling the company to a Saudi businessman, restore the state's ownership of the company and return all workers their positions before privatization.