Egyptian Court Fines Mubarak, Ex-Officials $90 Million for Telecom Shutdown

An Egyptian court has fined ousted president Hosni Mubarak and two of his former ministers $90 million for shutting down telecommunication services during the country’s popular uprising earlier this year.

The court ruled Saturday that Mubarak, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly were guilty of “damaging” Egypt’s economy after ordering the shutdown of the country’s Internet and telephone services in January as thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets.

Mubarak must pay about $33 million, while Nazif faces a fine of nearly $7 million.  Adly has the heaviest fine of more than $50 million.

Mobile operator Vodafone said in January that it and other telecom companies working in Egypt had no option but to comply with a government order to suspend services during the peak of the anti-government demonstrations.

Activists relied on popular social media websites, such as Facebook, to organize most of their rallies.  Internet experts have said that while Mubarak’s government was not the first to limit telecommunications, it was the first time that a government had done so in such a widespread manner.

Former President Mubarak currently is in custody in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, pending trial on charges of ordering the killing of protesters and on corruption charges.

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