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Middle East
Mubarak's wife suffers 'heart attack'
Suzanne Mubarak, wife of the deposed Egyptian president, claims health problems after being detained for investigation.
Last Modified: 13 May 2011 19:02
Suzanne Mubarak, the former First Lady, is facing questioning for the first time [EPA]

Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's former first lady, has suffered a "suspected heart attack" after Egyptian authorities ordered her detained over allegations she took advantage of her husband's position to enrich herself.

A doctor said she passed out on Friday upon hearing the news, and state-run Egyptian television later reported that she had been put in the intensive care unit at the hospital in the Red Sea resort community of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt's anti-graft agency has ordered former president Hosni Mubarak and his wife detained as part of a probe into charges they used their influence to amass wealth unlawfully.

Investigators interrogated Mubarak, who has denied wrongdoing, for more than three hours on Thursday evening in Sharm el-Sheikh, and questioned Suzanne on Friday, the state news agency MENA reported.

Mubarak's wife was later admitted to the hospital with what the facility director called a suspected heart attack.

"Suzanne Mubarak has been admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack and high blood pressure. She will be put under observation for 24 hours," Mohammed Abu al-Futouh told the Reuters news agency.


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A security official said Suzanne Mubarak will remain in the hospital for the time being but was expected to be moved to a women's prison in Cairo.

As Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reported from Tahrir Square on Friday afternoon, this was the very first time the former first lady had been questioned.

"This could mean that any moment now, Suzanne Mubarak could be transferred to a detention facility here in Cairo," she said, adding that this would probably be the Kanater Women's Prison.

"For the past few months this prison facility has already been undergoing security preparations in preparation for a possible imminent arrival, as part of the post-revolution purge."

Once a low-key first lady known for her focus on women and children rights, she had in the last decade become known as a powerful mover in Egyptian politics.

She was believed to be a strong backer of her son Gamal's efforts to succeed his father as well as another son Alaa's business activities. She was known to have a say in the promotion of senior officials, and liked to be called "Hanem," or "Madam," as institutions and schools carrying her name mushroomed in recent years.

Her husband is being held in "preventative detention" in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

MENA said prosecutors ordered the 70-year-old Suzanne Mubarak detained for 15 days pending further investigation of the allegations.

The news agency said Suzanne Mubarak was asked about $3.3m held in her name in one of Cairo's banks as well as a luxurious home in the capital.

Essam al-Gohari, who heads the illicit gains authority, "ordered the detention of former president Hosni Mubarak for 15 days following questioning in Sharm el-Sheikh that lasted three hours, over accusations of the illegal acquisition of wealth”, MENA reported on Friday.

Some media reports have suggested the Mubarak family's wealth may total billions of dollars, a major rallying point for anti-government protests in a country where around 40 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 per day.

"I expected it, yet it still feels good to hear it," Mohamed Ahmed, a 23-year-old banker, said in Cairo after hearing about the order.

Some Egyptians have been unhappy about the treatment of Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades. Dozens of demonstrators gathered at a major Cairo mosque on Friday saying the deposed ruler should not be put on trial, MENA reported.

But others were much more positive about the calls for justice.

"All of Egypt's people are happy with anything concerning the implementation of the law. For Suzanne to take 15 days under what is lawful; this is something that makes us happy,” Hassan Ahmed, member of al-Tagamoa, an opposition party, said.

"I am for the [the court] to investigate her, for the law to take its place and for there to be fair rulings to any wrongdoers," added Tarek Gohary, a doctor who was walking in downtown Cairo shortly after earlier protests in Tahrir Square that called for national unity following Friday prayers.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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