Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered a travel ban and an asset freeze for former President Hosni Mubarak and his family, as he considers further actions against the leader who resigned earlier this month following popular protests.
Judicial authorities say Monday's travel ban and recent asset freeze follow complaints that the former president profited illegally during his nearly 30 years as Egypt's leader.
Such allegations have been made against other officials in the Mubarak government, and the prosecutor's office has ordered travel bans and launched investigations into possible financial misdeeds of other members of Mubarak's government.
Khaled Fahmy, the chair of the history department at American University in Cairo, says targeting the Mubarak family is significant, not only for what it does to the Mubaraks but for what it says about the current state of Egyptian politics.
“Now the public prosecutor is going after the very head of the previous regime, the head of state himself. The significance lies in the fact that the public prosecutor had actually been appointed by Mubarak himself.”
Fahmy says top prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud could not order the ban without the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has pledged to oversee a transition to democracy.
“The paradox, again, is the fact that the military generals had also been appointed by Mubarak himself. So what we're seeing is the new leaders of the country, that is the military and the public prosecutor, burning their bridges completely with the previous president and trying to establish a new form of legitimacy, a new source of legitimacy.”
Fahmy says the travel ban will appease the public to a degree. Many Egyptians have been calling for the Mubarak family and their financial assets to be closely monitored, as activists press for the former president to be investigated for abusing his power in both the financial and human rights arenas.
Fahmy says the military council has focused on probing possible financial misdeeds, but adds that the public will want to see a wider probe.
“The interesting thing is to see whether the investigation will veer off from these financial investigations and touch on torture, because torture is key or was key in how this previous regime had maintained its cohesion. And one has to remember that torture was at the very core, torture and police brutality and abuse of power, was at the very core of this revolution.”
Judicial authorities say Egypt's former interior minister Habib al-Adly is due in court this week on charges of money laundering.
As for Mubarak, he and his family are believed to be at his estate in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.