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Egypt's Mubarak detained for 15 days in graft probe, suffers 'heart crisis'

By Tom Pfeiffer and Sarah Mikhail | China Daily | Updated: 2011-04-14 08:03

Egypt's Mubarak detained for 15 days in graft probe, suffers 'heart crisis'

CAIRO - Hosni Mubarak was ordered detained for 15 days on Wednesday, a move that may help quell protests and quash suspicions that Egypt's ruling army generals had been shielding their former commander from investigation.

Mubarak, who resigned on Feb 11 after mass demonstrations against his 30-year rule, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering what state media called a "heart crisis".

There were conflicting reports about the seriousness of his illness.

The public prosecutor had summoned Mubarak for questioning on Sunday over the killing of protesters and embezzling of public funds. His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were also summoned for questioning over the graft and ordered detained, state TV said.

"Former president Hosni Mubarak was detained for 15 days for investigation," state television reported in a brief headline.

In his first public comment since stepping down, broadcast on Al Arabiya on Sunday, Mubarak denied wrongdoing.

A security source said that Mubarak was likely to remain for security reasons in detention in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort where he has been in internal exile since leaving office.

An airport source in Sharm el-Sheikh said Mubarak's sons had left the town for a prison in Cairo. They join a list of ex-ministers and officials under investigation and held in jail.

Gamal, 47, Mubarak's younger son, held a top post in the ruling party. Many Egyptians believed he was being groomed for top office, although both father and son denied any such plan.

"This is a serious step forward in holding the president accountable and ends any suspicion that the state and the military were in cahoots with Mubarak," said Hassan Nafaa, a political scientist and activist for reform.

The army council, which has ruled since Mubarak quit, had faced increasingly loud calls for Mubarak to be held accountable. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians criticized the army in a protest on Friday over the failure to prosecute him swiftly.

Soldiers on Tuesday broke up a five-day sit-in at Tahrir Square, which became the epicenter of Egypt's uprising in January. Protesters had vowed to keep up the pressure.

The army had praised and thanked Mubarak when he left office, but protesters criticized his rule by emergency law and say he encouraged a rich and poor divide.

Mubarak has suffered from health problems in recent years and went to Germany for gall bladder surgery in March 2010. There were frequent rumors about his health as he aged, particularly after his last bout of surgery.

Mubarak had vowed to die in Egypt when he addressed the country's 80 million people shortly before he stepped down.

Angry protesters demanded the army hand power to civilians, but soldiers moved in on Tuesday to end the sit-in.

By early evening traffic was flowing through Tahrir, a major junction of roads that was the focus of the protests. Many ordinary Egyptians are tired of the protests that have hammered the economy and disrupted their lives.


(China Daily 04/14/2011 page11)

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