The last prime minister of ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak has been cleared of corruption charges in absentia, paving the way for his return from self-imposed exile and a possible political comeback.
Ahmed Shafik has been in the United Arab Emirates since losing to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi in last year’s presidential election.
Now with Mursi deposed by the army and facing trial on charges that could result in the death penalty, a comeback by Shafik would reflect the shifting balance of power. He could even stand in the next presidential poll.
Separately Shafik and Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were cleared in a different corruption case. The pair remain in prison on other charges.
Hosni Mubarak himself has been freed from jail, although he is being retried on charges of ordering the killing of protesters in 2011.