The health of Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak has deteriorated since his transfer to prison after he was sentenced to life in jail over the killing of protesters, the official news agency said Thursday.
Mubarak was suffering from “acute depression” and hypertension since his arrival at Tora prison, south of Cairo, where he has been held in a medical wing since the verdicts in his trial were delivered on Saturday, MENA reported.
The 84-year-old former strongman was sentenced to life for suppressing a revolt against his rule in early 2011 during which nearly 850 protesters were killed.
His interior minister Habib al-Adly was also given a life sentence, but six security chiefs were acquitted of the killings of demonstrators.
The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for Mubarak, and the verdict of life imprisonment sparked nationwide protests, with demonstrators again gathering at Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square to oppose what they saw as a lenient ruling.
On Tuesday, a security official had told AFP that Mubarak’s health had deteriorated after his arrival at the prison, saying he had suffered a “emotional breakdown.”
His health “is steadily deteriorating” and he had to have an oxygen mask at night to ease his troubled breathing, one of his lawyers said.
Mubarak “refuses to talk with doctors because of his severe depression, which complicates their work,” she said, adding that he “exchanged a few words with his son Gamal” who has been transferred to the same prison to be closer to him.
Egyptian authorities have still not taken a decision on whether to transfer Mubarak to a military hospital as requested by his family, an official from the security services told AFP.
Since his ouster in February last year, there have been contradictory reports about Mubarak’s health, with some saying he was suffering from cancer, heart ailments or depression.
Many people in Egypt believe such reports were aimed at generating sympathy for the ousted dictator.
[An image grab from Egypt's state-owned Nile TV shows ousted president Hosni Mubarak being wheeled into court on a hospital stretcher for the resumption of his trial in Cairo on January 21, 2012. AFP Photo]