SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt // Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was abruptly hospitalised yesterday at a Red Sea resort on the day he was set to be summoned for questioning by prosecutors over corruption allegations and abuse of power, Egyptian officials said.
Egypt's prosecutor general had issued a summons for the 82-year-old Mubarak on Monday to be interrogated over corruption allegations from his three decade reign and violence against protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him out of office.
Dozens of demonstrators picketed the hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, denouncing the president and carrying a sign reading "Here is the butcher". They scuffled with supporters of Mr Mubarak amid a massive security presence.
Two Egyptian security officials said Mr Mubarak arrived under heavy police protection to the main hospital. Two doctors in the hospital said he stepped out of his armored Mercedes, surrounded by security, and was admitted to the presidential suite in the pyramid-shaped building.
The officials and doctors spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Egyptian state TV later confirmed the hospitalization.
Mr Mubarak was forced to step down and hand over to the military on February 11 after unprecedented mass protests demanded his departure.
Mr Mubarak has been suffering for a number of ailments and underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany in March last year.
He has kept a low profile since he was ousted, living on his compound in Sharm el-Sheikh. He was banned from traveling and his assets have been frozen. Many of his senior aides have already either been questioned or detained pending investigations.
On Sunday, Mr Mubarak defended himself in a pre-recorded message saying he had not abused his authority, and investigators were welcome to check over his assets.
It was his first address to the people in the two months since he stepped down. Shortly after, the prosecutor general issued a summons for Mr Mubarak to appear for questioning.
Deciding on the site for the interrogation was a dilemma for the authorities who wanted to grant the ailing president a degree of privacy and security.
Mr Mubarak's two sons are also due to appear before investigators and reportedly accompanied their father to the hospital.
* Associated Press