Egypt TV News chief gets 18 years for bribery

The former head of news at Egypt’s state-owned TV station has been sentenced to 18 years hard labour on bribery and drugs charges. Mohammed el-Wakil was also fined 113,000 Egyptian pounds, or about $24,300.

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By  David Cass Published  November 14, 2002

The former head of news at Egypt’s state-owned TV station has been sentenced to 18 years hard labour on bribery and drugs charges. Mohammed el-Wakil was also fined 113,000 Egyptian pounds, or about $24,300, by the court.

Another defendant in the case, university lecturer Fakher Fuad, received a five-year sentence for bribing el-Wakil.

TV producers Ahmed el-Hasisy and Hani Abdel Latif pleaded guilty to charges of mediating in delivering the bribe to el-Wakil. They were acquitted because they testified against their former boss.

Commentators describe the punishment as “unusually harsh”. El-Wakel’s only recourse now is to appeal to the Court of Cessation, which would either uphold the verdict or order a retrial.

As Arabian Business reported in July, El-Wakel was arrested in a police ‘sting’ operation in the act of accepting a bribe from a doctor who paid 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about US $2,155) to appear on the show “Good Morning Egypt”. The case caused a sensation in Egypt, confirming the view of many that guests appear on TV talk shows after paying bribes.

The daily programme is a popular platform for politicians, professionals, academics and artists.

The drugs charge related to seven grams of hashish found during a search of his office.

El-Wakil had pleaded not guilty to all charges and suggested that he was on trial for allowing TV reporters more freedom to report.

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