Mubarak May Die Before Death Penalty Appeal
Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s health is “severely deteriorating” three days after the chief prosecutor said he will appeal his life sentence and ask for the death penalty for complicity in the murders of more than 850 protesters last year.
Sources inside the Cairo prison where he is being held said that Mubarak collapsed several times following visits on Monday by his wife Suzanne, and his sons Alaa and Gamal. It was the first family visit since the sentence. He was placed on mechanical ventilation.
The court that found Mubarak guilty acquitted his sons, but the prosecutor said he will file new indictments charging them with corruption. The acquittals and the life sentence, instead of the death penalty, set off massive protests and fueled emotions as Egypt heads into the last week before elections for Mubarak’s successor.
Egypt’s official news agency said that ”the severe deterioration in the former president’s condition” prompted prison staff to call for medical doctors. Authorities refused Alaa Mubarak’s request for his father’s personal doctor to examine him.
Mubarak has been in poor health for several years and reportedly was operated on, possibly for cancer. Since his arrest, he spent most of his time in a hospital. During his trial, he was wheeled into the court room on a stretcher, although detractors said he was staging poor health in order to win compassion.
After he was sentenced, several reports said he suffered a heart attack, but there has been no confirmation.
Before his ouster, Mubarak tried to retain power and rejected offers to move out of the country, saying, "I will die in Egypt.” Last Sunday, the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported that he said that the military council that took over after his ouster had deceived him. "Egypt has sold me. They want me to die here," he reportedly said.