CAIRO – Doctors used a defibrillator twice on Hosni Mubarak when theycould not find a pulse Monday, the latest health crisis for theousted Egyptian president since he was sentenced to life and movedto a prison hospital nine days ago, security officials said. The officials said the 84-year-old Mubarak was slipping in and outof consciousness and was being fed liquids intravenously. Mubarakalso lost consciousness several times Sunday and officials havesaid he is suffering from high blood pressure, depression andbreathing difficulties. Mubarak's health scare adds one more layer to Egypt's turbulentpolitical scene with a runoff vote to choose his successor a fewdays away. His death would bring down the curtain on a chapter ofEgypt's modern history that has divided this mainly Muslim nationof 85 million people. |
His 29 years in power are the second longest by any Egyptian rulersince the 19th century, when the Ottoman general Mohammed Ali ruledthe country for about 44 years ending with his death in 1849. WhileMohammed Ali went down in history as the founder of modern Egypt,Mubarak's rule has been defined by corruption, police brutality andthe behind-the-scenes rise to power by a coterie of regime-backedbusinessmen. More than a year after a popular uprising swept him from office,Mubarak's legacy lives on. The last prime minister to serve underhim will go head-to-head in the June 16-17 election against acandidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist group thatMubarak spent most of his years in power cracking down on.
The candidacy of former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, like Mubarak acareer air force officer, is widely seen as an attempt by the oldregime to hang on to power in the face of the revolutionary groupsthat engineered the uprising and the Brotherhood, whose candidateis U.S.-trained engineer Mohammed Morsi. Mubarak has been held in the intensive care ward of Torah prisonhospital south of Cairo since June 2, when he was convicted offailing to prevent the killing of protesters in the uprising thatforced him from office in February 2011. He was sentenced to lifein prison. His two sons, onetime heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessmanAlaa, were at his side, the officials said on condition ofanonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.The sons also are being held at the prison, awaiting trial oninsider trading charges after they and their father were acquittedJune 2 of corruption charges. Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, visited him Sunday and, according to theofficials, demanded that he be transferred to a better-equippedhospital outside the penal system.
The officials said such atransfer was likely unless Mubarak's health improves. In his last public appearance at his June 2 sentencing, thebedridden Mubarak sat stone-faced in the defendants' cage in thecourtroom, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Officials said hebroke into tears when he learned he was being transferred to aprison. It took officials hours to convince him to leave thehelicopter that ferried him from the courthouse to the prison. Media reports quoted Mubarak at the time as saying the militarycouncil who took over after his ouster had deceived him.
"Egypt hassold me out. They want me to die here," he reportedly said.
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