Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak 'clinically dead'
THERE WERE conflicting reports early this morning of the death of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at a military hospital in Cairo. He was “clinically” dead, the Egyptian state-run Mena news agency reported.
Earlier in the evening Mubarak, who was serving a jail term after being sentenced to life for failing to prevent the killing of 846 opposition protesters during last year’s uprising, had to be revived and have his heart rate stabilised using a defibrillator, according to Brigadier General Mohamed Elewa, a prison department spokesman.
Mubarak (84) was on an artificial respirator and transferred from Cairo prison’s hospital to a military hospital.
The former president had ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years, longer than either of the country’s republican presidents, until he was ousted by people power in 2011.
Mubarak, born in 1928 into a prosperous family living in a town in the Nile Delta, attended the prestigious Egyptian military academy where he earned a degree in military science.
In 1950 he joined the air force academy and rose through air force ranks, becoming commandant of the academy and commander of Cairo west base. He was in charge of the key base when Israel staged its devastating raid on Egypt’s airfields early on the morning of June 5th, 1967, destroying most of the country’s warplanes on the ground and winning that war with a single bold stroke.
The failure of senior officers to predict Israel’s attack and attempt to save the air force was sharply criticised, but Mubarak weathered the storm.
He became air force chief and, a few years later, head of the armed forces.
In October 1973 the military joined Syria in a surprise attack on Israel. Mubarak was rewarded for the air force’s credible performance by being elevated to air marshal.
In 1975, he became vice president under Sadat, who was slain by Muslim militants on October 6th, 1981, after concluding an unpopular peace treaty with Israel. Mubarak was elected to the presidency a week after Sadat’s death.
Mubarak inherited an economy in crisis; nepotism and corruption were rife; external debt was rising. The gap between rich and poor was wide and widening.
Mubarak completed the transition initiated by Sadat to a market economy, placing the means of production and trade in the hands of oligarchs and the military high command.
Mubarak’s government extended the state of emergency imposed after Sadat’s murder and restricted the freedoms of assembly, movement, and expression.
The security apparatus was given wide powers to arrest and detained members of outlawed organisations, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood.
The state of emergency was not revoked until May 31st of this year.
Mubarak had groomed his younger son, Gamal (49) to succeed him but both he and his elder brother Alaa, are in prison, acquitted of corruption charges on a technicality but facing allegations of insider trading.
Mubarak was the first Arab ruler to be present at his trial and conviction for crimes committed during his reign.