Conflicting reports about Mubarak's health

Lawyer says former Egyptian president is in a coma, but the report is denied by the head of Sharm el-Sheikh hospital.

    Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, has slipped into a coma after suffering a stroke, his lawyer said.

    Fareed el Deeb told Al Jazeera on Sunday that he was on his way to Sharm el-Sheikh to evaluate Mubarak's condition first-hand.

    El Deeb said he got the news from Mubarak's wife, Suzanne Mubarak, who was in the Red Sea resort town.

    Egypt's state TV, however, denied the report quoting head of Sharm el-Sheikh hospital.

    In a separate phone interview with Egyptian state TV, Assem Azzam, the deputy director of Sharm el-Sheikh hospital, said: "Mubarak had suffered a bit of low blood pressure today, which we dealt with right away."

    Denying that Mubarak had slipped into a coma, he said he "checked and spoke with [Mubarak] today".

    Azzam said, however, that Mubarak was in a bad psychological state.

    Mubarak currently faces charges of abuse of power and killing protesters. More than 840 people died in the 18 days of demonstrations that led to his removal on Februrary 11.

    The developments come amid continued political uncertainty in the country and cabinet resignations.

    Essam Sharaf, who has led a caretaker cabinet formed after Mubarak stepped down, announced on Sunday a broad cabinet reshuffle aimed at appeasing protesters who have been staging a sit-in in Tahrir Square since July 8.

    Mubarak's health reportedly took a turn for the worse on April 2011, and he was taken to hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh.

    Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were accused of corruption and abuse of authority, and were put under investigation by Egypt's top prosecutor.

    While Mubarak was questioned in the Sharm el-Sheikh hospital, his sons were moved to Cairo and kept in a prison there for the duration of the investigation.

    In the Egyptian media, Mubarak's condition has been a subject of intense speculation, gaining momentum in the run-up to an August 3 trial.

    Some Egyptians have questioned Mubarak's illness, seeing it as a ploy for the army to avoid putting on trial the decorated former air force commander who ruled Egypt for 30 years.

    "The news that comes every now and then about him being in bad condition is designed to gain people's sympathy, especially now with the public demanding he comes to a jail in Cairo and face trial in Cairo, not in his hospital," Hassan Nafaa, an Egyptian political analyst and activist, said.

    The military has repeatedly rejected such accusations.

    Mubarak had generally enjoyed good health in office. He underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany in March 2010 but he had appeared to make a full recovery.

    When in office, officials routinely dismissed talk of ill health including cancer reports.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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