Last updated: 2 August, 2011

Mubarak will attend trial on Wednesday

Egypt’s interior minister has said that former president Hosni Mubarak will be taken from hospital to attend his murder trial in a Cairo suburb in a bid to avoid public anger, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mubarak, whose trial starts on Wednesday, is under arrest in a hospital in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he is receiving treatment for a heart condition.

He received the court summons on Monday, state media reported, but it is not yet clear whether his doctors, who say the 83-year-old is weak, will sign off on transferring him to court.

Interior Minister Mansur Essawy told the independent Al-Masry Al-Yom newspaper that “we will transport (Mubarak) in a military plane to his trial location.”

Essawy added: “We do not want to see tension among the people in the street because of Mubarak’s absence.”

AFP was unable immediately to confirm the report.

By transferring the ex-president, who was forced to resign in February after a nationwide revolt, the interior ministry would be carrying out the state prosecutor’s request to ensure that Mubarak attends the opening of his trial.

But previous requests to transfer Mubarak to a Cairo prison or military hospital were not followed through.

Although the health minister has said he would assist in the transfer of Mubarak, who he said was fit to attend the hearing, the former president can still avoid attending the trial if his health suddenly deteriorates.

He is to go on trial with his two sons, his former interior minister and six police commanders. A businessman friend who escaped to Spain will be tried in absentia.