Monday, January 2, 2017

Egypt official accused of corruption 'kills himself'

Entrance of the State Council's building, Egypt's highest administrative court, in Cairo, on 21 June,. 2016

A top Egyptian government official has killed himself in jail after being arrested in connection with a corruption investigation, reports say.
Wael Shalaby was a former secretary general of Egypt's administrative courts system. He resigned on Saturday, a day before his arrest.
The public prosecutor said his arrest was part of an inquiry into accusations of officials receiving bribes.
A gag order on all media over the corruption case has now been issued.
Mr Shalaby's resignation came after a procurement manager at Egypt's State Council, the umbrella organisation for the country's administrative courts, was arrested.
Gamal al-Din al-Labban was charged with receiving bribes worth millions of Egyptian pounds.

The public prosecutor has referred to the two arrests as part of the same case.
Alongside his role in the State Council, Mr Shalaby also served as a deputy chief justice in the administrative courts, according to the Reuters news agency.

'Terrible psychological state'

Mr Shalaby's lawyer, Sayed Beheiry, told Reuters that his client hanged himself using a scarf he was wearing.
"He was going through a terrible psychological state during his questioning," he said.
"It is very hard to be a big important judge and suddenly you lose everything and sit in front of an investigator being accused of taking a bribe."
The lawyer told the Daily News Egypt newspaper that his client was subjected to interrogations that deprived him of sleep for nearly 40 hours.
Mr Shalaby, he added, had also said his arrest was illegal, because prosecutors had not issued an arrest warrant.

Gag order

The interior ministry, which oversees prisons, has not commented. The public prosecutor has ordered an autopsy, state news agency Mena reports.
Shortly after the death was confirmed, Egypt's Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek placed a gag order on the case until the investigations are concluded.
Local and foreign non-governmental organisations say corruption is rife in Egypt. The country was ranked 88th out of 168 countries on Transparency International's 2015 corruption perceptions index.