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Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's Ex-First Lady, Turns Over Assets To State

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SUZANNE MUBARAK

CAIRO — Egypt's military leader on Monday called on his people to look to the future, help improve internal security and work for a better economy.

It was the first public speech by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi since his Military Council took power in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak was deposed on Feb. 11 after a popular revolution.

Tantawi spoke at a graduation ceremony for police cadets. His 20-minute speech was broadcast on Egyptian TV.

He said internal security and the economy are linked and spoke against a wave of protests and labor strikes that has rocked the country.

He said, "Let's leave the past aside, not forget it, but put it aside for now so that we can push forward with the most energy we have."

Reformers are pressing for prosecution of Mubarak and members of his regime for corruption.

Mubarak's wife turned over her property and funds to the state, a move designed to settle corruption allegations against her, officials and lawyers said Monday.

Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne, have been questioned about their financial dealings. Some estimates put Mubarak's holdings in the tens of billions of dollars.

The prosecution of former regime officials, including the Mubaraks, has been one of the main demands by the activists who led the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb.11.

By relinquishing her claims, Mrs. Mubarak is benefiting from articles in the law which allow those accused of making illegal gains of giving them up in exchange for dropping the investigation, said lawyer Nasser Amin.

The move could open the way for others who are in detention on accusations of abusing their powers to settle with the state by returning their money.

Suzanne Mubarak, 70, has been hospitalized following an order to detain her over allegations she took advantage of her husband's position to enrich herself.

Mubarak, 83, is also in the hospital under detention for investigation into his financial dealings. He is also facing allegations that he ordered the a violent crackdown against protesters.

A prosecution official said the investigation by anti-corruption prosecutors disclosed that Suzanne Mubarak had about $3 million in bank accounts in Egypt and owned a villa in the suburb where she and her husband lived. It was not yet clear how much money the Mubaraks had abroad.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose details, said the case against her has not yet been closed, but the settlement strips the case of its importance, and her detention order may be reconsidered.

Amin said the settlement clearly a "compromise" to let the former first lady go free, while her children and husband remain under detention, and to meet one of the demands of the revolutionaries, which is to retrieve wasted money.

He said not everyone will be pleased.

"The decision may not be accepted by society, who after a revolution, side with the idea of revenge. But from the legal point of view, this is in line."

Tantawi, 75, has led a largely secretive military body ruling the country. The Military Council has called parliamentary elections for September, with a presidential election to follow.

Reformers have criticized the military for continuing some of the ways of the Mubarak era, including arresting activists and imprisoning them without charges.

Tantawi appealed for calm and unity, speaking out strongly against Muslim-Christian violence that has erupted several times since Mubarak was deposed.

He said the military rulers will not tolerate religious strife, warning that they will strike with "an iron fist" against instigators.

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Associated Press writer Ashraf Sweilam contributed to this report from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

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