Mrs Mubarak joins husband and sons in detention

Dina Ezzat, Saturday 14 May 2011

With the arrest this week of the wife of ex-president Mubarak, the last of Egypt's erstwhile first family is now in custody. Amnesty for the ex-president and his wife is said to be a possibility but only after trial

Mubaraks Family

"No. We have not been notified that we are receiving her. I don’t think they can bring her here; we don’t have the necessary healthcare facilities, and if she got too ill it would be a problem," said a medical source at Qanater Women's Prison (QWP).

The source was replying to a telephone question put by Ahram Online Saturday morning on whether or not Suzanne Mubarak, spouse of toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, would be moved to QWP to spend 15 days in detention pending investigations on charges of abusing her husband's position while president to illegally amass a fortune in funds and properties.

Mrs Mubarak, born Suzanne Thabet, is currently being kept under medical supervision at the ICU of Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital (SSIH) where she was admitted last night suffering a suspected heart attack.

A medical source at the SSIH told Ahram Online that Mrs Mubarak "is not doing well at all; she is very pale, and even that her heart is stabilised, her blood pressure is still high." According to the source, Egypt's former first lady is unlikely to leave medical supervision before 72 hours.

Mrs Mubarak was subject to interrogation on Friday. According to information made available by an informed source, she denied all wrongdoing and insisted that whatever property or bank assets she has were either gifts from her husband or the endowments of several charities she was supervising in her capacity as first lady.

"The prosecutor is not convinced; she needs to provide evidence for what she said — especially in relation to the accounts of the charities, which should have been brought to the attention of the boards of relevant charities rather than be kept a secret," said the same official source.

However, according to a source close to the office of lawyer Farid El-Dib, who is defending the Mubaraks, "Evidence will be provided before the 15 days (of her detention) come to an end to prove her innocent of wrongdoing".

The same source suggested that proving Mrs Mubarak is innocent is a much easier task than clearing the name of her husband, held in detention in the SSIH, and her two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who are held in Tora Prison pending investigations.

Mubarak and his son Gamal are facing charges of financial corruption and instigating the killing of peaceful demonstrators during the first 18 days of the 25 January Revolution. Alaa is facing "serious charges" of financial corruption.

"It is too early to speculate, but I think that at the end of the day some fairly legal arrangement could be concluded regarding the (former) president and his wife; as for the two sons — things do not look so good, but El-Dib is working very hard," the same legal source said.

According to an official source, the "Saudi offer of granting the Egyptian government generous financial assistance in return for offering Mubarak and his wife an amnesty still stands, and it is left to the Egyptian government to decide the details". The source added that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is "determined" that a full trial and verdict has to be issued before any amnesty would be considered. This, he insisted, would only be an option for the former president and his wife, due to their ill health and old age, but not for the Mubarak sons.

According to a source at Tora Prison, El-Dib has visited Alaa and Gamal several times during the past few days to consult on the detail of their cases and to be present during interrogations.

Alaa and Gamal, according to the same source, look "more peaceful now than the day they entered" the prison a few weeks ago, when they were reportedly in a state of disbelief.

"They have received their spouses, as do the rest of the ministers and officials, especially (former) Prime Minister (Ahmed Nazif) whose wife is a regular visitor. She knows people here by their first names," according to the Tora source.

From the little that could be overheard, the source said, some of those in Tora are hopeful about being cleared of the charges they face while others are pessimistic.

In Tora today, along with the Mubarak sons, are Nazif and the speakers of the lower and upper houses, Safwat El-Sherif and Fathi Sorour, Ahmed Ezz, the business tycoon and heavyweight of the now defunct National Democratic Party, and former ministers of housing and tourism Ahmed El-Magraby and Zoheir Garana (the latter sentenced to five years in jail recently, pending the decision of the Court of Cassation), among others.

Habib El-Adly, Mubarak's iron-like minister of interior, is also in Tora. He was recently given a 12 year prison sentence after having been found guilty of financial corruption. Next week, El-Adly will stand trial for ordering the killing of peaceful demonstrators.

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