Mubarak health scare started with fall in bathroom, lawyer says

Hosni Mubarak was convicted of ordering security forces to kill anti-government protesters and this month was given a life term.

Story highlights

  • Mubarak developed a blood clot when he hurt his neck in the fall, his lawyer says
  • He's in the ICU at Maadi Military Hospital
  • Mubarak's in the same hospital where his predecessor died

The recent health crisis for former Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak started when he slipped in a prison bathroom, his attorney told CNN Thursday.

The ousted strongman hurt his neck and developed a blood clot after the fall in Tora prison, attorney Farid El Deeb said.

El Deeb said Mubarak was taken off life-support equipment and his health improved on Wednesday, a day after grim and contradictory news emerged over the 84-year-old man's health.

The state-run Middle East News Agency reported that he was "clinically dead." The nation's military rulers denied the report, with one general saying Mubarak's health was deteriorating and he was in critical condition.

Mubarak was transferred from Tora prison to Maadi Military Hospital. Now, El Deeb said, his ailing client is out of a coma and under the care of doctors at the facility's intensive care unit.

"He had slipped in the bathroom of Tora prison and hurt his neck, which caused a blood clot that started all his medical problems that night, last Tuesday, including heart attack and irregular breathing," El Deeb said.

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He said he had warned before that "the prison hospital was not equipped with well-trained nurses or personnel to assist him or proper equipment."

The lawyer said he hadn't been informed about how the latest bout of health problems started because he was in Lebanon when Mubarak fell sick.

"I was getting information by phone with a minute-to-minute update, but I learned that he fell when I returned to Cairo," he said.

The hospital, located minutes away from Tora prison, is under heavy security. Dozens of Mubarak supporters and opponents stood outside the hospital Wednesday and argued. Security forces stepped in to prevent clashes.

Maadi is the same hospital where former president Anwar Sadat died after he was shot in 1981. Mubarak became president after the assassination. He ruled Egypt with an iron hand and as a staunch ally of the United States, which gives the nation $1.3 billion a year in military aid.

More than 800 people died and 6,000 were wounded during the uprising that ended Mubarak's 29-year rule in February 2011.

Mubarak and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were convicted of ordering security forces to kill anti-government protesters and this month were given life terms. But other top aides -- as well as Mubarak's two sons, who had been tried on corruption charges -- were acquitted.

El Deeb appealed the verdict four days after it was issued. He has until August 1 to submit a memo indicating the reasons for the appeal

Prior to his sentencing, Mubarak was already suffering from health problems; he attended court on a gurney. He had been in Tora for 17 days until he was transferred to Maadi.

Some citizens thought the Mubarak health scare was staged to focus attention away from the controversies over Egypt's elections. Reports of Mubarak's failing health have taken a back seat to the political and constitutional turmoil in the country.

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Egypt's Presidential Election Commission has delayed, from Thursday until a date to be announced, the release of the results of Egypt's presidential election, state-run Nile TV reported Wednesday.

"The committee has not completed the verification of a total of 400 electoral violation reports submitted by the two presidential candidates," said Tarek Shibl, a senior member of electoral committee. "Most probably the announcement of the election results will be delayed a day or two but nothing is final yet."

The results of last weekend's runoff between Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak, and Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, remain uncertain.

Shafik and Mosri each proclaimed himself winner in the race to succeed Mubarak 16 months after a popular uprising ended his three-decade rule.

Military rulers dissolved the lower house of parliament last week, extending their power and sparking accusations of a coup.

The military council announced it had full legislative authority. The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest Islamist group, was the dominant party in the parliament.

Under an interim constitutional declaration released Monday, the military council retains the power to make laws and budget decisions until a new constitution is written and a new parliament elected. The declaration says Supreme Council members "shall decide all matters related to military affairs, including the appointment of its leaders." The president has the power to declare war, it says, but only "after the approval" of the Supreme Council.