Yesterday, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was hospitalized in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik for reported heart problems. Today, Egyptian prosecutors have detained Mubarak, along with his two sons Alaa and Gamal, for 15 days of questioning about accusations of corruption, abuse of authority, and the killings of protesters during the Egyptian uprising. The timing is making people suspicious.
The state-run newspaper Al Ahram claims Mubarak, 82, became ill after prosecutors began questioning him yesterday, according to The New York Times, and state television announced that Mubarak suffered a "heart crisis" and was taken into intensive care. But the justice minister, Mohammed el-Guindi, added that questioning resumed in the hospital--an indication, the Times notes, that Mubarak's "health problems were not severe." In another sign that Mubarak's ailment wasn't serious, the Associated Press reports that when Mubarak arrived at the hospital, he stepped out of his Mercedes "unaided." Mubarak has since been flown to a hospital near Cairo, where he will spend the rest of his detention.
Yet Hani Shakrallah, the editor of the Egyptian news website Ahram Online, is skeptical about the reports from Egyptian authorities and state media. In an interview with the Times, Shakrallah speculated that Mubarak or the ruling military council, in an effort to protect the former leader, may have created "an elaborate ruse to get [Mubarak] out of the country for treatment" or "avoid questioning," though he conceded that that it's possible Mubarak grew so upset during the interrogation that he "fell ill."
The BBC adds that "the general public is suspicious at the timing of Mr Mubarak's heart problems and worried that ill-health, combined with old age, could prevent him from being tried." Eygptians have been stepping up calls for Mubarak's prosecution in recent weeks, even staging a mock trial for the former president and his family in Cairo's Tahrir Square last Friday.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.