Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s health is in critical condition, with reports that he is slipping in and out of consciousness, a security official said on Sunday.
Mubarak was sent to prison on June 2 to begin serving a life sentence after being found guilty of failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in 2011. Since then, his health has been rapidly deteriorating, according to Egyptian media reports, with rumors of his death spreading rapidly.
“The former president’s health is in decline, but now it’s stable in its deteriorated state,” an Egyptian official told The Associated Press news agency.
Authorities have granted his wife, former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, and the couple’s two daughters-in-law special permission to visit him in Cairo’s Torah prison early on Sunday.
Since his wife’s visit, Mubarak has suffered from an irregular heartbeat and required assistance in breathing, AP reported.
The official told AP that the former president now lives only on liquids and yogurt. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
On Wednesday, prison sources told Al Arabiya that Mubarak’s health is “severely deteriorating.” Sources inside Cairo’s Tora said that Mubarak collapsed following visits on Monday by his wife Suzanne, and his sons Alaa and Gamal. His wife reportedly sobbed after she saw him in a prison suit.
Alaa was reportedly moved to a cell near his father, whose personal doctors were not allowed to oversee his health condition.
Egypt’s state news agency said “the severe deterioration in the former president’s condition” prompted prison staff to bring in a medical team from the interior ministry. He was given sedatives and placed under observation, it added.
It said the family visit, the first since his sentencing, caused him to suffer from depression, prompting him to stop eating.
Mubarak’s health is reported to have collapsed since his June 2 conviction. His life sentence saw him transferred immediately to a prison hospital, instead of the military hospital and other facilities where he had been held since his April 2011 arrest.
Mubarak’s two sons Alaa and Gamal, who are still in detention, were acquitted on June 2 of corruption charges, but still face separate charges of insider trading.
Authorities have turned down several requests by Mubarak’s family to transfer the ousted president back to a military facility, the official said.
On Saturday Mubarak’s wife was denied access to the Intensive Care Unit where he was placed, as authorities limit family visitations to one a month.
According to security officials quoted by al-Masry al-Youm daily, Mrs. Mubarak lashed out at wardens for not giving her husband permission to seek treatment outside the prison. “You will be responsible for his death,” she allegedly said.
On Saturday, Egypt’s state run news agency MENA quoted officials as saying that Mubarak is at risk of stroke, quoting a medical team’s report.
Other media reports said that his lawyer Farid al-Deeb informed him that he will soon be transferred back to a military facility in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.
In his last public appearance on June 2, the bedridden Mubarak sat stoned-faced in the courtroom cage. However, officials said that he broke into tears when he learned that he will be transferred to Torah prison. It took officials hours to convince Mubarak to leave the helicopter that ferried him from the courthouse to the prison.
Media reports quoted Mubarak at the time as saying the military council who took over after his ouster had deceived him. “Egypt has sold me. They want me to die here,” he reportedly said.
Mubarak’s health has been the subject of widespread speculation for years. During his trial, he was wheeled into court on a hospital stretcher for each hearing, though his ailment was undefined.