Then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits during his meeting uin 2011 with the Emirates foreign minister, at the presidential palace in Cairo. / Amr Nabil
CAIRO - Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for corruption.
His sons, Alaa and Gamal, received four-year sentences.
The three were convicted on charges of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds that were allocated for maintenance and renovation of presidential palaces. They were fined the equivalent of nearly $3 million and ordered to repay the state $17.6 million - 125 million Egyptian pounds - in money they had stolen.
"It seems the ruling wasn't that tough," said Mohamed Zaree, program manager for the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. "The verdict Mubarak received today is not enough."
But the sentences are garnering little interest from the public.
"I don't think most Egyptians, by and large, care about any trial of Mubarak," Zaree said. "I don't think that people think Mubarak is guilty. Some people see he was trying to protect Egypt from tribal groups and from conspiracy, so people now are not caring about the judgment of Mubarak for his past crimes."
Mubarak, 86, became president of Egypt in 1981 and governed the country for 30 years until he stepped down in 2011 following swells of protests against him. His ouster sparked an ongoing wave of political unrest in a nation that has since seen the toppling of its first freely elected leader and whose citizens are now craving stability.
Several months after Mubarak's ouster, images of him in a courtroom behind bars flooded televisions nationwide, leading to a wave of hope that he would be punished for years of injustices.
In 2012, he was found guilty of failing to prevent protesters' deaths the year before and sentenced to life in prison. But in 2013, the ruling was overturned and a retrial was ordered. Last August, he was released from jail and has been kept under house arrest since. His sons have remained in prison.
The former ruler will likely serve no more than a year for corruption since the time he has already spent in prison since 2011 will be applied to the sentence, according to a Reuters report. His sons will also only serve an additional year since they have been in prison for three years.
The sentences come just days before a presidential election that will kick off here Monday. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who served as Mubarak's intelligence chief, is widely expected to win the election.
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