Egypt's Mubarak refuses food, 'extremely weak': report (AFP)
CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak, due to go on trial next week for murder, is refusing food in his hospital detention and has become extremely weak, state media reported on Wednesday.
Mubarak, 83, has been detained since April on charges of ordering the killings of anti-regime protesters and corruption. He is under arrest in a Red Sea resort hospital, where he receives treatment for a heart condition.
His health, the topic of much speculation as critics accuse him of malingering to avoid trial, is “extremely weak,” the official Al-Gomhuria newspaper reported, citing a hospital official.
He “completely abstains from food and intakes only some liquids and juices,” the newspaper quoted Mohammed Fathallah, head of the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, as saying.
Mubarak is scheduled to stand trial on August 3 with his two sons, his former interior minister Habib al-Adli and six police commanders.
A medical source who is closely familiar with the ex-president's condition said Mubarak was not on hunger strike and his physical condition allowed him to eat, but he was too depressed to take food.
“He is very depressed, and that's caused a loss of appetite. There is lack of willingness” to eat, the source, who requested anonymity because of the topic's sensitivity, told AFP.
He said Mubarak had weakened and needed medical attention, but that his condition remains “stable.”
He declined however to say whether the former strongman was unfit enough to stand trial next week.
“We try to get him to be more active, to walk around. Sometimes he accepts, sometimes he doesn't. So there is some laziness,” he said.
Mubarak's trial has become a thorn in the side of the military rulers, whom critics accuse of delaying the trial of the former president.
Further delays would exacerbate mounting tensions between the ruling generals and activists who want Mubarak's transfer to a Cairo prison and a speedy trial.
His lawyer Fareed al-Deeb has said Mubarak suffers from stomach cancer and that slipped into a coma this month, which the hospital treating him denied.
The location of the trial has not yet been announced but judicial and security sources say it will probably be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular tourist resort where Mubarak resided after a revolt ousted him in February.
Mubarak is accused of ordering the deaths of protesters who took part in an 18-day revolt that led to his resignation on February 11. More than 800 people were killed during the uprising, many of them shot by police.
He is also accused of illegally using his office for profit and squandering public funds.