Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered on Sunday that ousted President Hosni Mubarak be transferred to a Cairo prison hospital pending a corruption and murder probe after a doctor declared him well enough to travel.
But the prosecutor stopped short of demanding an immediate transfer, saying it would take at least a month to prepare the prison’s medical equipment.
Mubarak took refuge in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a popular uprising ended his 30-year rule. He is accused of abusing power, embezzling funds and being responsible for the deaths of some protesters, accusations he says are “lies”.
Prosecutors already demanded that Mubarak be moved to a military hospital but he has not been pronounced well enough and medical sources said last week he had stopped eating or taking medication to persuade Egypt’s army rulers to keep him in Sharm.
Mubarak’s two sons are now in prison in Cairo facing corruption charges and security sources say Mubarak fears that being moved from Sharm will only hasten his imprisonment.
“The public prosecutor has ordered the Interior Ministry to transfer former President Hosni Mubarak to Mazra’a hospital in Torah prison (in Cairo)” once the hospital is ready to receive him, prosecutor Abdel Hamid Mahmoud said in a statement.
The prosecutor said Mubarak should first be moved to a military hospital near Cairo while the Interior Ministry supervises the preparations at the Torah prison hospital, but did not say when that should happen.
“Now the Interior Ministry will take the necessary steps to secure Mubarak’s transfer to a military hospital in Cairo, known as the International Medical Centre,” said a ministry source.
Another official source cited by state news agency MENA said Mubarak could be moved to the military hospital within 48 hours.
The transfer is likely to be swift and discreet because of the security challenge faced by Egypt’s army rulers in moving the deposed leader to the capital.
The ruling military council, which took power when Mubarak quit on February 11, has been under pressure to put him on trial.
Prosecuting Mubarak was a major demand of protesters who led the 18-day uprising.
Many Egyptians see him as a repressive autocrat whose rule widened the rift between millions of poor and a wealthy elite.
But Mubarak, a former air force commander during the 1973 war with Israel, is seen by many in the military as a war hero.
The 82-year-old former leader was admitted to a hospital in Sharm with an unspecified illness the day that prosecutors ordered him detained for questioning and mystery still surrounds his medical condition.
The prosecutor cited doctor Ahmed el-Seba’i as saying on Sunday that Mubarak’s condition is “stable” and there was nothing to stop him travelling, but that he needs to be under constant medical care because his heart could stop beating “at any moment”.