CAIRO // Four days into a life sentence, Hosni Mubarak's health has deteriorated and it is likely he will moved to a hospital outside the jail where he is being held, the state news agency reported yesterday.
Egypt's former president was given artificial respiration five times yesterday and doctors treating him recommended he be transferred from Tora Prison, where he has been jailed since Saturday.
Mubarak, 84, was sentenced to life in jail for his role in the killing of hundreds of protesters during last year's uprising.
"Official sources saw as likely the possibility of his transfer to a military hospital ... based on a medical recommendation from the doctors treating him," the state agency Mena reported.
A medical committee from the interior ministry visited Mubarak and concluded that he had suffered several "heart crises" and that his health was deteriorating. The committee's report said that if the prison was not prepared to deal with Mubarak, he should be transferred.
The deposed leader was suffering from nervous shock and an increase in his blood pressure, reported Mena.
Whether he is moved from Tora Prison or not, Mubarak's detention at the facility - unimaginable 16 months ago - was a historic moment for Egypt.
Ayman Nour, a politician held at the same jail for four years by the Mubarak administration, said "God's justice" had been served.
Egypt's newspapers were brimming with reports detailing the former leader's first days in the prison's hospital wing. His wife, Suzanne, visited him on Monday, accompanied by the wives of his two sons, Gamal and Alaa. "They brought me here to kill me," Mubarak told Suzanne, according to the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.
Mubarak's imprisonment, many say, has already sent a powerful message to whoever replaces him as president.
"This is the first time that a pharaoh goes to jail at the hands of his own people," said Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an academic and activist who was jailed in the Mubarak era.
"It is divine justice, having been pursued, committed to the same prison 12 years ago by the man who was determined to destroy me," said Mr Ibrahim.
He spent three years in Tora, sentenced on trumped-up charges because of an article he wrote about "inheritance power" in which he asserted that Mubarak was readying his son Gamal to succeed him.
"There are flaws in the verdict, but Mubarak going to prison remains a historic moment in the history of this nation," said Mr Nour. "I don't feel joy but I feel that God's justice has been realised, though justice in Egypt has yet to fully be achieved."