- Associated Press - Sunday, July 17, 2011

CAIRO (AP) — Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak‘s lead doctor denied Sunday that the ousted leader had suffered a stroke or was in a coma, as Mr. Mubarak‘s lawyer claimed.

Dr. Assem Azzam said the 83-year-old Mr. Mubarak had suffered only a bout of low blood pressure and was in stable condition.

Mr. Mubarak‘s lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, said earlier that Mr. Mubarak had had a stroke and was in a coma.

“I checked on him. He is in stable condition. What happened is he got a little dizzy because his blood pressure was low. The doctors are dealing with that,” Dr. Azzam said. “It is only hypotension, not a coma.” A second official in the same hospital confirmed the diagnosis, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Mr. Mubarak has been in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April under arrest on charges he ordered the killings of protesters during Egypt’s uprising. He is said to be suffering from heart trouble.

The former president is set to face trial in about two weeks on charges he ordered the killings of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted him on Feb. 11. A conviction could carry the death penalty, and activists suspect his lawyer may be using health problems as a ruse to sway public opinion and perhaps even win amnesty.

Protesters have camped for more than a week in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, demanding a public trial for Mr. Mubarak and other regime officials accused of complicity in killing protesters.

“The president had a sudden stroke,” Mr. el-Deeb said. “Doctors are trying to bring him to consciousness. He is in a total coma,” he told the Associated Press.

Mr. el-Deeb has made other claims recently about Mr. Mubarak‘s deteriorating health that also were denied by senior medical officials.

Mr. Mubarak was treated last year for cancer in his gallbladder and pancreas, and Mr. el-Deeb said last month that the former president may be suffering a recurrence that spread to his stomach.

However, two senior Egyptian medical officials — one of them the head of Mr. Mubarak‘s team of doctors — said at the time Mr. Mubarak did not have the disease.

Ever since Mr. Mubarak traveled to Germany early last year for medical treatment, it has been widely rumored that he has cancer. But his health was a closely guarded secret, and the cancer was never spoken of publicly until recently.

Dr. el-Deeb claimed last month that Mr. Mubarak underwent “critical surgery” in Heidelberg, Germany, last year to remove his gallbladder and part of his pancreas, which were cancerous.

At the time, he called Mr. Mubarak‘s condition “horrible” and said the former leader “doesn’t eat and he loses consciousness quite often.”

Mr. Mubarak has lived in Sharm since his ouster.

Mr. Mubarak‘s purported health issues have complicated efforts to bring him to trial. He was hospitalized on the day prosecutors trying to build a case against him sought to question the former leader for the first time.

Prosecutors have questioned him in the hospital, but an order to transfer him to a Cairo prison during the investigation was overturned on the grounds that the prison health facilities were inadequate to treat him. A report by a government-appointed panel of physicians determined in May that Mr. Mubarak is too ill to be held in prison while awaiting trial.

That report said Mr. Mubarak was suffering from heart troubles and confirmed he had “tumors” in his pancreas removed, but it did not specify whether the tumors were malignant. It also said Mr. Mubarak can’t leave his bed without assistance.

Reports about Mr. Mubarak‘s health are a highly politicized issue because his trial is unprecedented in the history of modern Egypt.

Youth groups have warned that granting Mr. Mubarak amnesty only would spark a new revolution.

Mr. Mubarak has been charged with conspiring with the former security chief and other senior police officers — already on trial in a criminal court — “to commit premeditated murder, along with attempted murder of those who participated in the peaceful protests around Egypt.”

The charges say Mr. Mubarak and the other officials were involved in “inciting some policemen and officers to shoot the victims, running some of them over to kill them, and terrorizing others.”

At least 846 protesters were killed during the revolt.

Mr. Mubarak‘s sons, Alaa and Gamal, have been held in Cairo’s Tora prison since mid-April while they are investigated on charges ranging from corruption and squandering public funds to ordering the violent suppression of anti-government demonstrations.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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