Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are under arrest – with the senior Mubarak handcuffed to a hospital bed, after he reportedly suffered a heart attack during questioning by the country's new government.
In a statement, the Egyptian prosecutor general’s office said Wednesday that “the public prosecutor has ordered the detention of former president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal Mubarak for 15 days pending investigation after the public prosecutor presented them with the current state of its ongoing investigation of charges and submitted the detention decision to the relevant police authority.”
Mubarak and his sons were detained in the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where they took refuge after Hosni Mubarak resigned as Egyptian president on February 11. The arrests came after reports last week that Mubarak may have stolen hundreds of billions of dollars over the years from the Egyptian treasury, squirreling it away in private bank accounts around the world. Questioning centered on the money, as well as “on the crimes of assault against protesters, leading to deaths and injuries,” the government said in a statement.
According to reports, Mubarak, 82, keeled over during questioning Tuesday, and was rushed to a nearby hospital. The reports said that Mubarak suffered a “heart event,” but was apparently not too sick to answer questions, as his interrogation resumed – under medical supervision. He reportedly requested permission to fly to Germany and be treated by doctors familiar with his situation there, but was refused by authorities. Press reports said that Mubarak refused to eat and drink on Tuesday after he learned he was to be questioned.
Mubarak has denied the accusations that he stole money from the treasury, appearing in a video broadcast on the Al-Arabiya network proclaiming his innocence, saying that the stories about the missing billions were part of a “smear campaign” against him. However, most Egyptians believe that he is indeed guilty, and when word spread Tuesday that it was Mubarak who was being taken to the hospital in the ambulance that set out from police headquarters, dozens of people spontaneously gathered and began hurling rocks and debris at the vehicle, witnesses said.
On Wednesday, numerous reports in the Egyptian media said that Mubarak had just been pretending to be sick in order to get out of questioning – in the hope that he will be allowed to leave the country under the guise of seeking medical treatment, and thus avoid justice. Mubarak, for his part, said last week he would cooperate with any investigation, and that he was innocent of all charges.