Mubarak on the brink

Sources in Egypt say that the ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was being tried for alleged ordering to kill civilians and corruption in Cairo, has suffered a heart attack and may even have died in custody, RT’s Paula Slier reports.

­If true, Mubarak becomes the second head of state to become a victim of the so-called Arab Spring and not be properly tried for the crimes the opposition charged him with. Earlier, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi died under suspicious circumstances after being captured by rebel forces.

Mubarak, whose health had deteriorated to the point where he had to attend his trial while lying in bed, on Sunday night saw TV reports about Gaddafi’s death, which worsened his condition, the sources claim. The former Egyptian leader suffered a massive heart attack after seeing his long-time friend’s body bloodied and still.

Initial reports said the attack was fatal, while later it the sources said Mubarak is rather in critical condition and may pass away at any moment. The reports were difficult to verify immediately, and some media reports in Egypt say the former president is not even in intensive care. The former leader’s lawyer says his client is in good shape.

Mubarak's heart never stopped beating, he only suffered heart problems and a slight increase in blood pressure, Xinhua news agency reported Monday, citing state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. The Chinese agency’s sources also denied the former strongman had been moved to intensive care.

The ousted leader had undergone a medical checkup Friday and the results showed he suffered atrial fibrillation, namely irregular and rapid beating of the heart's atria, according to Xinhua.

The Egyptian army has decided to ramp-up security in the hospital where Mubarak is being kept under arrest. Extra guards have surrounded the building as well as entered the floor on which the ailing ex-president is being treated, says Slier.

The issue of former president’s health is something of a taboo subject in present-day Egypt, which adds to the confusion, she added.

Mubarak has been charged with various crimes, including ordering to shoot at protesters who took to the streets of Egypt in February and eventually overthrew the government. The uprising ended the four-decade rule of the regime. So far, a number of his former subordinates have testified before the court, but none confirmed the accusations.

Another famous similar case in resent history is that of Slobodan Milosevic. The president of Serbia and Yugoslavia was in custody of the Hague Tribunal for alleged crimes committed during the 1990s Balkan wars. The trial was never finished as the defendant died in custody in 2006 of a heart attack.