Mubarak’s wife in hospital
Ex-leader’s spouse being investigated for corruption
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Suzanne Mubarak, wife of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, was hospitalized in the intensive care unit Friday after suffering severe chest pains upon hearing the news that she had been ordered detained on corruption allegations.
The director of the hospital said she had a heart problem and was in unstable condition at the hospital in this Red Sea resort community, where her husband also has been hospitalized.
The detention order came a day after the 70-year-old former first lady was questioned for the first time since she was accused of taking advantage of her husband’s position to enrich herself. The Mubaraks and other members of the former regime have been the subject of legal efforts to bring them to trial since the ex-president was ousted on Feb. 11 after a popular uprising.
A security official said Mrs. Mubarak will remain in the hospital for the time being but was expected to be moved to a women’s prison in Cairo.
Once a low-key first lady known for her focus on women and children rights, Mrs. Mubarak had become known as a powerful mover in Egyptian politics.
She was believed to be a strong backer of her son Gamal’s efforts to succeed his father as well as another son Alaa’s business activities. She was known to have a say in the promotion of senior officials, and liked to be called “Hanem,” or “Madam,” as institutions and schools carrying her name mushroomed in recent years.
Mrs. Mubarak’s detention order came as thousands of Egyptians returned to Cairo’s Tahrir square, the epicenter of the 18-day uprising that led to her husband’s ouster.
The protesters were rallying in solidarity with Palestinians and denounced recent Muslim-Christian violence that killed 15 Egyptians. Many accuse former regime loyalists of fanning sectarian tension. They also warned of a new sit-in at the square, criticizing the current military rulers for being too slow in uprooting old regime figures, changing laws and upholding promised democratic reforms.
Mrs. Mubarak was ordered detained pending investigation into charges that she and her husband amassed vast wealth, the state news agency MENA reported. It said she was asked about $3.3 million held in her name in one of the Cairo banks as well as a number of luxury villas.
Mrs. Mubarak was interrogated at the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh where her 83-year old husband, who also suffers from heart problems, has been held.
When she was told Friday that she would be detained for 15 days for further questioning, she fainted, said the hospital’s director, Dr. Mohammed Fatahallah. He later said she apparently had suffered from unstable angina – severe chest pains.
He added it was the first indication of health troubles shown by Mrs. Mubarak, who has been by her husband’s side at the hospital.
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