Mubarak Calls to Rally Around Morsi

Former Egyptian president makes a surprise call to Egyptians to rally around his Islamist successor, who he himself jailed twice.

Elad Benari ,

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted two years ago as part of the so-called Arab Spring protests, has made a surprise call to Egyptians to rally around his Islamist successor and end violent protests.

Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid a-Deeb, told AFP on Monday that his client had told him that President Mohammed Morsi, twice jailed by Mubarak before he himself was overthrown, is the "elected president, people should rally around him.”

"Mubarak is sad and frustrated" by recurring violent protests around the country targeting the Islamist president, Deeb told AFP.

The 84-year-old had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of protesters during the 18-day uprising in 2011 that ended his three decade reign.

However, in January an Egyptian court ordered a retrial for Mubarak, after accepting an appeal against the life sentence. The new trial is set to start on April 13, reported AFP.

Mubarak also spoke out against violent protests, although he believed Egyptians have the right to peaceful demonstrations, Deeb said.

"He still considers those who attacked police stations in 2011 were thugs and criminals," Deeb told AFP, referring to protesters who torched police stations across the country during the 2011 revolt.

Roughly 850 people were killed in the uprising.

Mubarak has suffered a number of health scares in prison that prompted his transfer to a military hospital. Deeb said his health has "improved."

Morsi, who won elections last June on the Muslim Brothehood's ticket, had pledged new trials for former regime officials including Mubarak implicated in the protesters' deaths.

Morsi's presidency has been plagued by unrest and deadly clashes between protesters and police. Port Said, a city on the Suez Canal, has been in open revolt against the Islamist.