Mubarak detention extended


Egypt’s state prosecutor has renewed the detention of ousted president Hosni Mubarak for another 15 days amid a probe into a deadly crackdown on protesters and into allegations of widespread corruption while Mr. Mubarak was in power, MENA news agency said Friday.

Mr. Mubarak, who was forced to resign in February after mass protests, was first remanded into preventive custody for 15 days on April 13 on suspicion of involvement in a deadly crackdown on protesters, and on corruption issues.

“The state prosecutor, Abdel Maguid Mahmud, decided to renew the detention of ex-president Hosni Mubarak for 15 days for questioning... effective when his last detention period expires,” the agency reported.

Mr. Mubarak is under detention in a hospital in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he has lived since his ouster. There have also been conflicting reports that the former president was moved to a military hospital in Cairo.

The report said that prosecutors traveled to the resort on Friday to further interrogate Mubarak.

A Cairo court on Thursday ruled that Mr. Mubarak’s, and that of his wife, Suzanne, be removed from all public places. Meanwhile, additional police and troops were deployed in the southern governorate of Minya after a family dispute sparked deadly sectarian clashes.

Judge Mohammed Hassan Omar said the names of the former president and his wife would be removed from “public squares, streets, libraries and other public institutions around the country,” the official MENA agency reported.

Mr. Mubarak, 82, was forced to step down from the Egyptian presidency on February 11 after nearly three weeks of anti-regime protests that ended his 30-year rule.

The former president is under arrest in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, being questioned over his alleged role in violence against protesters during the popular protests that erupted on January 25. There are reports that he has been moved to a military medical facility in Cairo.

His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also in prison pending investigations into the violence during the revolution as well as corruption charges. They are being held in Bora Farm prison in Cairo.

Egypt, meanwhile, has deployed extra police and troops in Minya after a dispute between a Christian and Muslim family sparked deadly sectarian clashes, a security official said, according to Agence-France Press. No word yet about casualties.

A curfew has been imposed on the town of Abu Qorqas after a dispute between the two families over the building of a speed bump turned into clashes between the town's Muslims and Christians that left two Muslims dead.

Furious Muslim residents then went on the rampage on Wednesday burning homes and shops owned by Coptic Christians.

“Calm has been restored in the town, but the situation remains tense,” the official told AFP.

The violence in Minya comes as thousands of angry protesters in the neighboring governorate of Qena continued to rally against the appointment of a Christian governor, in a region with a history of sectarian fighting and where relations between Muslims and Copts are fragile.

The incidents raised fears of widespread sectarian unrest, with Egypt’s Christian minority long complaining of discrimination.

Egypt's Christians make up 10 percent of the country’s 82-million population.

In Qena, protesters blocked a vital north-south railway link and several main roads, saying they would not leave until governor Emad Mikhail—a senior police officer under the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak—was removed from his post.

In a firm statement, Egypt’s cabinet on Wednesday rejected calls to overturn Governor Mikhail’s appointment, saying objections based on religion were “unacceptable.”

“The governor of Qena has not and will not resign and there are no alternatives. Objections [to someone] based on religion are unacceptable,” said cabinet spokesman Ahmed al-Saman, MENA reported.

Visits this week to Qena by officials, including the interior minister, failed to placate the protesters who have called for a massive protest on Friday.

(Abeer Tayel of Al Arabiya can be reached via email at: [email protected])