Egypt's chief forensic doctor told a state-run newspaper in an interview published Saturday that Hosni Mubarak has never suffered a stroke and that he is not in critical condition, contradicting earlier medical reports that the former president's health was deteriorating.
For months, there have been conflicting reports about the health of the 84-year old Mubarak, who was sentenced in June to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of hundreds of protesters during last year's uprising. He is the first Arab president to serve a prison sentence.
While he was in power, Mubarak's health was treated almost as a state secret. But since his ouster some 20 months ago, Mubarak's supporters have released details of his allegedly failing health in what critics say is an attempt to curry sympathy from the public and appeal for leniency from the courts.
Less than three weeks after he was convicted and sent to Cairo's Tora prison, Mubarak was abruptly transferred to a military hospital amid reports that his heart had stopped beating. The state news agency said at the time that Mubarak had suffered a stroke. He returned to prison one month later.
Ihsan Kameel Gorgy, Egypt's chief forensic doctor, told the Al-Ahram daily that the prosecutor general asked him to put together a medical team to check on Mubarak's health after he was transferred to the military hospital.
Gorgy said he led a team of forensic doctors during two check-ups on the former president, one at the military hospital and the other at Tora prison. Gorgy said Mubarak only had low blood pressure and dizziness from standing up too quickly.
He also dismissed reports presented by Mubarak's private doctor which said the former leader had suffered a series of strokes after returning to prison. Gorgy said medical reports showed that Mubarak has never suffered a stroke.
He also dismissed claims by Mubarak's doctor that the aging former leader suffered a pulmonary embolism, or a blocked artery of the lungs.
Gorgy said that after conducting his own check-up on Mubarak, that there was no indication that the former president had any difficulty breathing and that he did not need a respirator.
"He does not need to be transferred to another hospital," Gorgy told the paper.
Mubarak's lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, angrily dismissed Gorgy's reports, accusing him of lying and hiding facts about Mubarak's health. El-Deeb said he will complain to the prosecutor general about Gorgy's comments to the media, saying they constitute a breach of patient privacy.
Mubarak's family and lawyers have appealed a decision by the prosecutor general to return Mubarak to prison, complaining of poor facilities and mistreatment.
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