Mubarak, due to stand trial soon, has cancer, lawyer says

Posted: June 21, 2011

CAIRO - Toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has cancer, according to his lawyer, who disclosed the news less than two months before Mubarak is to stand trial, accused of financial corruption and allowing security forces to kill hundreds of protesters who rallied against his regime in February.

Mubarak, 83, who has been hospitalized since an April heart attack, has been in ill health for years. Reports that he may have cancer surfaced in 2010, when a growth was removed from his intestine during gallbladder surgery.

Mubarak's lawyer, Farid Deeb, told Reuters of the former president's condition Monday, referring to a medical report filed with the court. Deeb was quoted as telling Agence France-Presse that Mubarak has "stomach cancer and the tumors are growing."

The announcement contradicts comments last week by an Egyptian medical official, who denied that Mubarak was seriously ill.

"Whatever has recently been said about the deterioration of Mubarak's health is rumors," Adel Adawi, an assistant to the minister of health, told the Arab media.

Activists and opposition leaders have been suspicious of reports on Mubarak's health, fearing that his condition is being made to look more dire than it is in an effort by his supporters to keep him from trial. Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, are expected to be tried in early August for allegedly defrauding the country and for allowing government forces to kill more than 840 Egyptians during 18 days of demonstrations.

"Mubarak and his sons are the symbol of all the corruption carried out under his rule," said Ismael Zakareya, a teacher. "The importance of his trial is not just to punish him, but it will be to set a great example to any ruler or official who will come to power after him. This revolution will lose a large part of its essence if he and his sons are not sentenced."

Gamal Mubarak, once expected to be his father's successor, and Alaa are in Tora Prison on the outskirts of Cairo. The former president is in custody in a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh. His wife, Suzanne, was released from detention after agreeing to turn over about $4 million in assets. She remains under investigation.

Tunisia's Ex-Ruler Convicted

Tunisia's former ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, were convicted in absentia Monday on embezzlement and other charges after $27 million in jewels and public funds were found in one of his palaces.

They were sentenced to 35 years each in prison, and fined the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars. The convictions followed a daylong trial before the Tunis criminal court.

The couple went into exile on Jan. 14 in Saudi Arabia after a monthlong uprising that sparked other Arab-

world uprisings.

Ben Ali, 74, vigorously denied the charges in a statement through his French lawyer, calling the proceedings a "shameful masquerade of the justice of the victorious." Saudi Arabia did not respond to an extradition request.

The verdict in a second case stemming from the discovery of weapons and drugs in the official presidential palace in Carthage was postponed.

- Associated Press

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