EGYPT: Hosni Mubarak has stomach cancer, his lawyer says
Toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has cancer, according to his lawyer, who disclosed the news less than two months before Mubarak is to stand trial, accused of financial corruption and allowing security forces to kill hundreds of protesters who rallied against his regime in February.
Mubarak, who has been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack in April, has been in ill health for years. Reports that he may have cancer surfaced in 2010, when the 83-year-old former leader had a growth removed from his intestine during gallbladder surgery.
Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid Deeb, told Reuters of the former president condition on Monday, referring to a medical report filed with the court. Deeb was quoted as telling Agence France-Presse that Mubarak has "stomach cancer and the tumors are growing."
The announcement contradicts comments last week by an Egyptian medical official, who denied that the former leader had a serious illness. “Whatever has recently been said about the deterioration of Mubarak’s health is rumors,” Dr. Adel Adawi, an assistant to the minister of health, told the Arab media.
Activists and opposition leaders have been suspicious of reports on Mubarak’s health, fearing that his condition is being made to look more dire than it is in an effort by his supporters to keep him from trial. Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, are expected to be tried in early August for allegedly defrauding the country and allowing government forces to kill more than 840 Egyptians during 18 days of demonstrations.
“Mubarak and his sons are the symbol of all the corruption carried out under his rule,” said Ismael Zakareya, a teacher. “The importance of his trial is not just to punish him, but it will be to set a great example to any ruler or official who will come to power after him. This revolution will lose a large part of its essence if he and his sons are not sentenced.”
Gamal Mubarak, once expected to be his father's successor, and Alaa are in Tora Prison on the outskirts of Cairo. The former president is in custody in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. His wife, Suzanne, was released from detention after agreeing to turn over about $4 million in assets. She remains under investigation.
-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo
Photo: Hosni Mubarak. Credit: Reuters