A case accusing former minister of petroleum, Sameh Fahmy of exporting natural gas to Israel will return to court after the Cassation Court accepted on Monday an appeal filed by him and five former petroleum officials.
Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Fahmy to 15 years in prison in June 2012, on charges of exporting natural gas to Israel and causing losses of EGP 714m to the state’s public funds.
The court also sentenced former vice president of the Egyptian General Organisation for Petroleum and Gas Manufacturing Mahmoud Lateef Amer, former vice president of the Egyptian General Authority for Petroleum and Production Hassan Mohamed Akl, and former vice president of the Egyptian General Organisation for Petroleum and Planning Ismail Hamed Karara to 7 years in prison on similar charges.
The court also sentenced entrepreneur Hussein Salem to 15 years in absentia.
Ramy Ghanem, human rights’ lawyer, explained that several conditions should be present in order to retry any defendant. First, the appeal should be submitted within 60 days after the original verdict is announced; secondly, there should be new evidence or witnesses for any case to be reopened.
Ghanem said he is not aware of the conditions that led to the retrial of Fahmy and the other officials, affirming that by law they cannot receive a longer sentence than the previous one.