Mubarak, two sons detained for 15 days

Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak has been placed in detention for 15 days, prosecutors said on Wednesday shortly after state media reported his two sons had also been detained.

In a statement on the public prosecutor’s Facebook page, a spokesperson said the prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud authorised the detentions “as part of an inquiry into the use of force against protesters during the unrest in January and February”.

Mubarak was admitted to hospital on Tuesday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh shortly after suffering a heart attack during questioning by prosecutors, state media said.

It was not immediately clear where his 15-day detention would take place.

Earlier, state tv said Mubarak’s two sons had also been detained.

“It has been decided to imprison Gamal and Alaa for 15 days for the needs of the inquiry,” the report said.

They are accused of incitement to fire at demonstrators during a popular uprising that lasted from January 25 till February 11 when Mubarak reluctantly stepped down. Nearly 800 people died during the uprising.

Corruption charges
A security source said the two brothers were heading for the Tora prison in Cairo from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where they were interrogated.

On Sunday, public prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud ordered the inquiry, as part of a sweeping probe into corruption and abuse.

The Mubaraks were to be asked about allegations that they were “connected to the crimes of assault against protesters, leading to deaths and injuries”, the official MENA news agency said.

Prosecutors had begun questioning Mubarak and his son Gamal earlier on Tuesday, Justice Minister Abdel Aziz al-Guindi said, adding that the questioning over acquiring wealth illegally had not yet started “as that will be handled by the department of illicit gains”.

State tv reported that Mubarak had refused to eat or drink since he received news on Tuesday morning that he was to be questioned.

He was admitted by his bodyguards to the VIP wing of the Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital, the report said, adding that the hospital was not accepting any patients except for emergency cases.

Police cars and ambulances surrounded the hospital, as well as a heavy military police presence, the television said.

The former president was dressed in a black and white track suit, a witness said.

Pressing for trial
Asked if Mubarak was in good health, hospital director Mohammed Fathallah replied: “Somewhat.”

The state-owned daily Al-Ahram, citing sources in Sharm el-Sheikh, said on its website that Mubarak had gone to hospital “under the pretext of being unwell in order to avoid facing questioning”.

The former president was also to be quizzed about allegations of graft, MENA added.

The prosecutor’s summons came after the broadcast of an audio tape in which Mubarak defended his reputation and after weeks of mounting protests calling for him to be put on trial.

In the audio message aired on the pan-Arab television network Al-Arabiya, Mubarak complained he was the victim of a smear campaign.

He pledged his assistance in a probe of his family’s foreign assets, but his defiance in threatening lawsuits against the media angered Egyptians who have been pressing for his trial.

After he resigned, Mubarak and his family moved to a residence in Sharm el-Sheikh. Although he is subject to a travel ban, his relative freedom has been a thorn in the side of the military rulers.

Weekly protests demanding his trial have attracted tens of thousands and eventually led to a deadly clash with soldiers early on Saturday after they tried to clear an overnight demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.—AFP

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