Confusion compounds over Mubarak's health

June 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
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CAIRO, June 20 (UPI) -- Confusion over the health of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak compounded Wednesday when an attorney said he is not near death but simply suffered a fall.

Youssri Abdel Razeq denied reports Mubarak suffered a stroke and heart attack and was near death in a prison hospital, The New York Times said. The attorney said Mubarak fell in a prison bathroom and was treated for a blood clot in his neck.

"We were surprised at what we can call a media mania in Egypt last night," the attorney was quoted as saying Wednesday. Razeq says Mubarak is in stable condition but attorneys are seeking to have him released from prison on medical grounds. Razeq said the legal team would consider sending Mubarak out of the country for medical treatment. "If the doctors recommend that, of course," Razeq said.

The Times said many Egyptians believe military rulers are using reports about Mubarak's health as part of a scheme to get him out of Egypt.

The 84-year-old, ousted Feb. 11, 2011, after 18 days of demonstrations, was taken by helicopter to a suburban Cairo hospital from the maximum-security Tora Prison late Tuesday, government officials said.

The officials and the state-run Middle East News Agency initially said Mubarak had been declared "clinically dead" after suffering cardiac arrest and a stroke in prison.

Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told CNN, "He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."

Mubarak attorney Fareed el-Deeb told the network: "He has been in a coma for hours now. He has had water on the lungs for 10 days now and his blood pressure is down."

Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, was at his side, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported.

Tora Prison management refused to let Mubarak sons Alaa and Gamal go to the hospital with their father, state-owned al-Ahram's Arabic language news Web site reported.

The sons are imprisoned on charges of stock market corruption. However, an Egyptian official told Ahram Online if Mubarak dies, his sons will be permitted to attend the funeral, adding Mubarak will be entitled to a family funeral.

Mubarak had been in the Tora Prison medical ward since the beginning of the month after he was sentenced to life in prison in the killing of demonstrators during last year's protests that ended his rule.

The confusion over the deposed president's health threatens to impact the results of the presidential elections due to be published Thursday, Ahram Online said.

The two presidential candidates, Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, are both claiming victory.

The ruling generals in the past week declared martial law and issued a decree amending Egypt's Constitution to give the military many executive powers previously reserved for the president.

Egypt's Supreme Court, whose judges were appointed mostly during the Mubarak regime, separately dissolved Parliament after negating Egypt's complex parliamentary elections.

Many analysts said the military and judiciary moves resembled the kind of uncontested authority Mubarak wielded during his nearly three decades in power.

As unfounded rumors of Mubarak's death spread, fireworks crackled across the capital, The Washington Post reported.

The Tahrir Square crowd remained large and energetic early Wednesday.

An Egyptian political analyst told the Times the fact that Mubarak lost consciousness at a climactic moment of the struggle over the future of the system he had defined was "very Shakespearean."

"To himself, he is eternal. There can be nobody after him," Diaa Rashwan, an analyst at the state-financed al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told the newspaper. "He does not want to hear the name of his successor."

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