Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had to be revived twice using a defibrillator, as his condition deteriorates days before the country is due to elect a successor.
Mubarak received the treatment after his heart stopped, Brigadier General Mohamed Elewa, a spokesman for the prison department, said in a telephone interview today. The 84-year-old, who is serving a life sentence in Cairo’s Tora prison for failing to prevent the deaths of protesters killed in last year’s uprising, has reportedly been getting progressively worse since his conviction on June 2.
“His heart has stopped as a result of the grave neglect in his treatment and failure to respond to our request since last Wednesday to transfer him to a military hospital,” Mubarak’s attorney, Farid ElDib, said by phone. “The hospital has no preparations to deal with such a case, but no one is responding to our request in order to appease the Muslim Brotherhood which wants to gloat, whether he is alive or dead.”
The worsening of Mubarak’s condition comes as his former aide Ahmed Shafik prepares to contest a runoff presidential race against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi. The emergence of the two most divisive candidates from the first-round vote has added to tensions in a country struggling to recover from the revolt that toppled Mubarak last year.
Prison officials today moved Mubarak’s older son Alaa to a cell nearer to where he is being held in the hospital’s intensive care unit. His younger son and one-time heir-apparent, Gamal, had been transferred nearer to his father days earlier. The two were acquitted of corruption, though they are being held in prison after new charges were filed days before the verdict.
Mubarak’s family has requested that he be transferred to a military hospital or another large facility where he can receive more specialized care. The request has not been approved.
ElDib said he visited Mubarak on June 9 and the former leader lost consciousness three times while he was there. He said he is urging world leaders to intervene.
“Where are the human rights groups that used to turn the world upside down?” ElDib said. “Shall we leave the man to die before our own eyes? Is this the right thing to do?”
While Mubarak and his security chief Habib el-Adli were convicted, six senior police officials were acquitted. Youth activists and other groups saw the verdict as paving the way for the former president’s acquittal on appeal, and another example of how the political odds were stacked in favor of restoring his old regime to power. Shafik, a former civil aviation minister who served as premier in the last weeks of Mubarak’s rule, has been branded by the Brotherhood and the activists as the embodiment of that effort.
With the vote just days away, and the generals who took over from Mubarak pledging to hand over power to civilians later this month, politicians are racing to set a framework in place for the incoming president. Both houses of parliament are due to meet tomorrow to elect a 100-member committee that will draft Egypt’s new constitution and outline the president’s powers.
The new committee is being set up weeks after its predecessor was disbanded following a court ruling about its composition. Critics of the Brotherhood had argued that the group and other Islamists had sought to dominate the body.
There are indications that the problem may resurface, after a group of four secularist parties including the Free Egyptians and the Social Democrats pulled out of a meeting yesterday to discuss the committee. Party representatives complained that the Islamists, who hold about 70 percent of the seats in parliament, are again trying to monopolize the panel.
“We will not surrender to a constitution of a religious state,” billionaire Naguib Sawiris, one of the founders of the Free Egyptian party, said on his Twitter account today.
The parties said they will relinquish their seats on the panel to other civil society and interest groups, including some representing young people and women, the official Middle East News Agency reported.