Ex-president Hosni Mubarak, on trial for the death of protesters during Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled him, said future generations would judge him “fairly” in an interview published on Sunday, but his lawyer denied the exchange took place.
“The interview is fabricated, it never took place,” lawyer Farid al-Deeb told AFP.
The independent Al-Watan, which is highly critical of Egypt’s new ruling Islamists, said the interview was the first the ex-president gave since he was forced to quit in February 2011 after massive protests against his 30-year rule.
“I have said in the past that history would bear witness and judge, and I am still certain that future generations will judge me fairly,” Al-Watan quoted Mubarak as telling one of its reporters on the sidelines of his re-trial on Saturday.
According to the paper, Mubarak also said that it was too early to judge his successor Mohamed Morsi, a member of the influential Muslim Brotherhood movement and archfoe of the toppled leader.
“I do not want to talk about that subject, but in the end, he’s a new president who bears heavy responsibilities for the first time, and who shouldn’t be judged for the moment,” Mubarak said when asked to comment on Morsi.
Mubarak, 85, also said that he was “very, very sad” for the poorest Egyptians who face a deteriorating economic and security situation.
“Throughout my presidency, I took care of people on low incomes… and I refused to take any measures against them. That is the secret of my sadness, to see the situation of people on low incomes,” he said.
On of the main slogans of the uprising that pushed Mubarak out of power was: “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice.”
Mubarak also voiced concern over efforts by Egypt to secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, saying the deal’s conditions “are very tough and are dangerous for Egypt’s economy, and that will affect the poor citizens.”
The IMF and Egypt have been in talks for months over the loan that is contingent on strong support from domestic political actors and a commitment to key reforms.
Authorities believe the IMF loan will help restore investor confidence in Egypt, where unrest that accompanied the 2011 uprising hammered revenue from the once-lucrative tourism industry.
Mubarak’s lawyer Deeb accused Al-Watan of having used a recent interview with him.
“These quotes, I said them on television, on behalf of the president,” Deeb explained.
Mubarak appeared in court on Saturday to face a new trial for complicity in the murder of hundreds of protesters during the uprising, as well as for corruption.
He was granted a retrial after his appeal against a life sentence was accepted due to procedural failings the first time around.