Health Of Jailed Hosni Mubarak 'Worsens'

Emma Hurd, Middle East correspondent
Health Of Jailed Hosni Mubarak 'Worsens'

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak is expected to be transferred to a military hospital after his health deteriorated sharply in jail.

The country's state news agency has reported that the 84-year-old, sentenced to life in prison on Saturday, had to be given artificial respiration five times in the space of a few hours.

He is said to be suffering from nervous shock, severe depression and an increase in his blood pressure.

The former dictator's doctors are reported to have recommended a return to the luxury medical suite at Cairo's military hospital where he was held on remand throughout his trial.

Mubarak was sent to the capital's Torah jail after he was convicted for complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during last year's uprising against his three-decade-long rule.

The outcome of the trial - in which Mubarak's security chiefs and sons were acquitted - was met with widespread anger in Egypt.

There have been mass protests decrying the case as a sham, with some demanding the death penalty for Mubarak.

The ailing ex-leader, who had appeared throughout the case on a hospital stretcher, was flown by helicopter to the jail where he is said to have cried and resisted when guards tried to take him inside.

In the hours after his incarceration state media reported he had suffered a "health crisis", and a further deterioration has apparently taken place over the past few days.

Many Egyptians are sceptical about reports of his ailing health, convinced the ousted leader is trying to escape prison.

The fury over the trial has added to the growing unrest ahead of this month's crucial run-off vote in the presidential election.

Protesters in Tahrir Square have called for Ahmed Shafiq , Mubarak's former prime minister, to be barred from the race.

Mr Shafiq, who won second place in the first round of voting, will compete against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi to lead the nation.

Many Egyptians are angry at the prospect of a former member of the old regime gaining power after the revolution. But some are also wary of an Islamist victory.

Revolutionary youth groups in Egypt have called for both candidates to be boycotted and the election postponed.

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