Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian leader, has been revived and is on an artificial respirator after he suffered stroke, sources in the interior ministry and from his family told Al Jazeera.
A lawyer for Mubarak’s family told Al Jazeera he was actually unconscious and on a respirator after he was rushed to Maadi Army Hospital near Cairo from Tora prison hospital on Tuesday.
Mubarak’s wife Suzanne reportedly arrived at the hospital to be at her husband’s side.
Mubarak’s move out of jail to a Cairo military hospital where officials said he was slipping in and out of a coma on Wednesday has created a fresh sense of uncertainty for Egyptians as the wait for results of a presidential election drags on..
“We do understand from family sources that Hosni Mubarak is improving,” said Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Cairo. “We believe he is still in a coma.”
“The state TV has now formally reported that he is in an intensive care unit in Maadi military hospital,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Hanna said that earlier there were reports that his heart had stopped and attempts to resuscitate failed.
Earlier on Tuesday the state news agency, MENA, quoted medical sources as saying that the former president, aged 84, was “clinically dead”.
General Said Abbas, a member of the ruling military council, told Reuters that Mubarak had suffered a stroke but added, “Any talk of him being clinically dead is nonsense.”
According to an interior ministry spokesman, he suffered a stroke and his condition rapidly worsened on Tuesday.
State news agency, MENA, had earlier reported Mubarak’s transfer to hospital from prison, where it said he had experienced a stroke and been defibrillated.
State TV earlier said Mubarak was in a “critical” condition and had been placed on a respirator.
The prison official said doctors reported that he had fallen unconscious, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
“Earlier reports had said [Mubarak’s] heart had failed and he had to be resuscitated and that he had suffered from a stroke,” Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reported from Cairo on Wednesday.
“Many Egyptians are sceptical about these reports because for more than a year now Hosni Mubarak has been portrayed as in poor health.”
“[Mubarak] showed up to his trial on a hospital stretcher and many people have been wondering whether the former president is in poor health or whether perhaps the generals in charge of the country are simply trying to ensure more comfortable confinement for him and trying to justify his transfer from the prison hospital to a better medical facility,” Rageh said.
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo
“The timing is of essence. Many are saying the [ruling military] generals are seizing the opportunity of the current political turmoil to make this move.
“Others say it could be an attempt to distract public opinion after mounting pressure – after street protests against the ruling military generals following the recent expansion of powers, [and] the recent constitutional declaration – that is being perceived by some as a last minute power-grab before the generals hand over power to an elected president later this month,” our correspondent said.
The confusion over the state of health of the former leader came as thousands of Egyptians returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square hoping to reignite the revolution on Tuesday.
Mubarak was sentenced to a life in prison on June 2 for failing to stop the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising against him.
He was transferred to prison after spending months in a military facility in detention. Officials have since repeatedly reported his health is deteriorating.
Since his arrival at the prison directly after his sentencing, Mubarak has been suffering from high blood pressure and breathing difficulties and deep depression, according to prison officials.