Health of Egypt's Mubarak stabilizes in prison

Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Hosni Mubarak's condition stabilized Tuesday, a day after the imprisoned former president slipped in an out of consciousness, medical officials said.

There have been conflicting reports about Mubarak's condition since a court convicted him on June 2 of failing to prevent the killings of protesters in the uprising that ousted him last year and sentenced him to life in prison.

The 84-year old Mubarak has been suffering from high blood pressure and breathing difficulties and is in a deep depression, according to security officials at Torah prison where he is serving his sentence. On Monday, doctors in the prison hospital used a defibrillator on him twice after they could not find a pulse.

Medical officials said his condition had improved by Tuesday and he was administered oxygen to aid his breathing once for five minutes. They said they are monitoring his heart and blood pressure closely and he is in intensive care. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Officials said Mubarak was being given liquids intravenously and also lost consciousness several times Sunday.

Mubarak lawyer Farid el-Deeb told a private TV station late Monday that the prison hospital was not well equipped to deal with his client's critical health condition, despite a $1 million renovation to accommodate the ousted leader. He told the CBC station that on his first night in the prison hospital, the doctors couldn't operate the machine to administer oxygen to Mubarak.

"This can't be called a hospital. I saw it for myself," el-Deeb told the station. "Mubarak doesn't trust anyone anymore. He was surprised to find new doctors treating him, not the ones who treated him before, and is afraid to take anything from anyone. He doesn't recognize the faces around him. This is a big problem for him."

El-Deeb visited Mubarak on Saturday.

"The hospital is very, very modest. He passed out three times in an hour and a half. Something serious is happening."

El-Deeb said Mubarak told him he feels like: "They (doctors) are ordered to kill me."

Mubarak's health condition, just like the verdict against him, has consumed public debate in Egypt as the country's is seething with political uncertainty ahead of a presidential runoff election on Saturday and Sunday.

Mubarak's last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq is facing off against a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, once Mubarak's most organized opposition. The contest has deeply polarized the country. Mubarak's death or transfer to a hospital outside of prison could further enflame public anger.

The military doctors who were treating Mubarak before he was transferred to prison were called over to see Mubarak days after he was transferred to prison, the lawyer el-Deeb said. He said the latest medical report showed there was water collecting in his lungs.

Mubarak's two sons, onetime heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were at his bedside, security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The sons also are being held at the prison, awaiting trial on insider trading charges after they and their father were acquitted June 2 of corruption charges.

His lawyer drummed up Mubarak's military career to ask for his transfer to a military hospital. He said he is considering appealing to international human rights organizations to check on Mubarak's condition because he feared he could die in prison.

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