Mubarak refusing food ahead of trial over killing of protesters


OUSTED EGYPTIAN president Hosni Mubarak is reported to be refusing solid food ahead of his August 3rd trial for ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ended his 30-year reign.

Mr Mubarak “has lost a lot of weight and suffers weakness and severe infirmity”, according to Dr Muhammad Fathallah, who heads the Sharm al-Sheikh hospital where Mr Mubarak has been held in custody in the VIP wing since April.

However, Azzam Azzam, who heads the ex-president’s team, said Mr Mubarak’s condition is “almost stable”, although he is afflicted with depression.

Doctors will consider intravenous feeding if his condition deteriorates.

Ever since he went on an earlier hunger strike and suffered heart palpitations while being questioned by prosecutors soon after his arrest, the health of Mr Mubarak (83), who is said to have pancreatic cancer, has been a controversial issue.

His doctors say he is too weak to be transferred to Tora prison near Cairo where his sons, Alaa and Gamal, and other members of this entourage, are incarcerated.

Interior minister Mansour el-Essawi has said arrangements have been made for his sons, former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six police commanders, to be transported by army helicopters to Sharm el-Sheikh for the court proceedings.

Democracy activists speaking for many Egyptians argue that Mr Mubarak’s refusal to take food is intended to compel the ruling military council to postpone or even cancel the trial.

However, Ahmad Refaat, the judge set to preside over the capital case, said: “Egyptians should calm down because Mubarak will face a fair trial,” which citizens would be able to follow.

Protesters who took part in the uprising that toppled Mr Mubarak in mid-February are camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square with the aim of putting pressure on the military, the interim government and the judiciary to ensure that the trial is not delayed.