Egypt ex-interior minister ''to go on trial March 5''

Cairo, Feb 27 (AFP) Egypt''s once widely fearedinterior minister Habib al-Adly is to appear before a criminalcourt on March 5 accused of money laundering, judicial sourcestold AFP today.

Adly would be the first of toppled president HosniMubarak''s regime to face trial.

He was arrested on February 17, along with tourismminister Zoheir Garranah and steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, a seniormember of Mubarak''s National Democratic Party.

Nationwide protests that erupted on January 25 led tothe overthrow of Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 yearsunder emergency law.

The protests that lasted 18 days and saw bloodyclashes between protesters and Adly''s security forces, left atleast 384 people dead and over 6,000 injured while scores weredetained.

Upon his resignation, Mubarak handed power to amilitary council that pledged to pave the way for a freedemocratic system in the Arab world''s most populous nation andvowed to prosecute all those found guilty of abuses during theprotests.

Pro-democracy campaigners have repeatedly called forAdly to be held accountable for violence used againstprotesters, and for the use of force and torture by hissecurity apparatus during his time as minister.

Egypt''s controversial emergency law which gives policeextended powers of arrest, suspends constitutional rights andcurbs non-governmental political activity, has been extendedregularly years since 1981. (AFP)

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