- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The detention of an Egyptian industrial leader is raising new fears that those who prospered under the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak will face revolutionary justice despite the West’s hope that Egypt will emerge as a democracy.

The daughter of imprisoned industrialist Ahmed Ezz wants Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to raise the issue during her visit to Cairo this week, the first stop in Egypt by a senior U.S. official since the fall of the Mubarak government.

“I worry that the recent arrests of prominent businessmen and members of the former government are merely show trials used to appease the public’s anger,” Afaf Ezz, the daughter of Mr. Ezz, stated in a letter to Mrs. Clinton sent Monday.

The detention of Mr. Ezz could signal an uglier phase in the Egyptian revolution, where key figures in the former regime are facing public trials through emergency courts. His arrest has made headlines in the Egyptian press, which has portrayed him as one of the chief enemies of the recent revolution that ousted Mr. Mubarak and led to an interim military government.

Mrs. Clinton arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for meetings with her Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Al-Araby, Egypt’s new foreign minister, and members of civil-society groups.

**FILE** Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (Associated Press)
**FILE** Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (Associated Press) more >

Mrs. Clinton said she was “inspired” by the relatively nonviolent revolution that drove Mr. Mubarak from power and derailed apparent plans for his son, Gamal Mubarak, to succeed him.

State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said, “The department received the letter [from Ms. Ezz] and is looking into it.”

“Secretary Clinton is in Egypt now, meeting with a broad array of individuals both in government and civil society, and among the issues she’ll address is the need for absolute transparency and rule of law as Egypt navigates its transition to democratic rule,” Mr. Toner said.

Shortly after Mr. Mubarak left Cairo for his palace in the resort town of Sharm el Sheik, a number of prominent figures associated with his old regime were arrested, including Mr. Ezz, a former chairman of the national assembly’s budget committee and the owner of Ezz Steel, the largest steel company in the Middle East.

He was accused of corruption related to acquiring his wealth through political connections and trying to monopolize Egypt’s steel industry.

Other figures arrested after the fall of Mr. Mubarak include former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, who is accused of ordering the national police to fire on unarmed demonstrators. The military transitional authorities have also arrested the former housing minister, Ahmed Maghrabi, and former Tourism Minister Zuheir Garana.

“The denial of transparency and a democratic judicial process threatens the goals and aspirations of my fellow Egyptians who demonstrated so bravely for justice and democracy,” Ms. Ezz stated in the letter.

“This is a bellwether case for Egyptian democracy and the rule of law. We must ensure that rule of law and due process are in place in Egypt,” she said.

Since 1981, the Egyptian government has utilized an emergency law to imprison perceived enemies of the Mubarak regime and the state without due process.

Joe Stork, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, said his organization criticized Egypt’s judicial system for many years.

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