Thursday, 3 April 2014

Swiss will not release US$791 million in frozen assets because of concerns over human rights

The death sentences handed down to the 528 - or 529, because there is still confusion in judicial sources - defendants in Minya may cost the country dear. The Swiss authorities have said that, because of the death sentences, they are unlikely to return to Egypt the 700 million Swiss francs (US$791 million) in assets that were frozen in 2011 after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime believed to have been deposited by members of Mubarak’s family and close entourage.

The head of international law at the Swiss foreign ministry, Valentin Zellweger, said that developments in Egypt “are reflected in our proceedings”. He said that it was necessary to proceed more carefully because Swiss law requires that human rights are respected. Zellweger said that, in spite of current developments in Egypt, the Swiss government’s ultimate goal is to return the money to the Egyptian government provided it can be proven that the money was stolen.

Meanwhile, in another case, two of President Morsi’s supporters -Mahmoud Ramadan and Abdullah el-Ahmedi - have been sentenced to death for throwing two young men off a roof top in Alexandria during protests after Morsi was ousted last year. Footage of two young men being thrown from a roof to their deaths was widely broadcast at the time. This is one incident seized upon by the authorities and large sections of the public as evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is essentially a violent organisation.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2014 Menas Associates

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