CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak is suffering from cancer, his defence lawyer said yesterday, citing a medical report to assess whether the former leader is fit enough to face trial.
Mubarak, 83, was forced from office in February in a popular uprising driven by anger at high-level official corruption and widespreadpoverty. He is due to stand trial on August 3 for the killing of protesters and abuse of power.
“Mubarak has cancer and this was included in the last medical report,” lawyer Farid el-Deeb told Reuters.
He declined to say whether he was referring to a new medical report that had not been made public. Satellite news channel Al Jazeera’s English language website cited Deeb as saying Mubarak had “stomach cancer and the tumours are growing”.
A committee of doctors appointed to assess Mubarak’s state of health said in late May that he should not be moved to a prison hospital because he was depressed, had poor blood circulation and was at risk of a sudden heart attack.
The committee also said he had tumours in his gall bladder and pancreas, for which he had had operations in the past. However, the committee did not say at the time whether those tumours were malignant — that is, cancer — or benign.
No one at the prosecutor’s office was available for comment. Mubarak has not appeared in public since retreating to his family’s villa in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh shortly after his overthrow.
He made a recorded statement in April in which he denied accusations of corruption and vowed to defend his reputation.
The former leader was detained in hospital in Sharm in mid-April after officials said he had heart problems during initial questioning.
Mubarak’s health was a subject of frequent speculation as he aged in office, particularly since he had gallbladder surgery in March last year. While he was in power, officials always denied he had any life-threatening illness such as cancer.
The timing of his latest illness means he has been spared jail, fuelling talk that the former decorated air force officer was getting special treatment from the army which took power after his overthrow.