Mohammed Morsi
Mohammed MorsiAFP photo

Already saddled with a restive population that appears set on repeating last year's revolution against the regime and mass protests against his style of governing, recently installed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is apparently suffering from a brain tumor, Egyptian media reported Thursday. The Al-Wafed newspaper said that the tumor in his brain was currently small, but spreading, and that Morsi needed to have it removed before February. If it was not taken out, his life would be in danger.

The report quoted medical officials said to be familiar with the president's condition, but did not name any specific doctors, and no independent verification was cited. Al-Wafed is considered among the leading newspapers in Egypt opposing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood

Morsi's office vociferously denied the report, calling it a “ridiculous lie.” A spokesperson for Morsi said that the government was likely to bring libel charges against Al-Wafed for the story.

Egypt, like many other Arab countries, has a long history of obfuscating the facts about the health of its leaders. Former President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in the Egyptian revolution last year and jailed, was subsequently found to have been suffering from a range of maladies that have been ongoing for years, and were only revealed after he was jailed – with attorneys and family pleading for leniency for Mubarak from the new regime because of his poor health.