Prosecutor orders Mubarak back from Red Sea resort

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 2:43 PM
Prosecutor orders Mubarak back from Red Sea resort

Egypt's top prosecutor on Friday ordered deposed President Hosni Mubarak to be moved from a hospital at a Red Sea resort to a military hospital for questioning about the deaths of protesters and allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

Prosecutor General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud did not name the hospital in his announcement, but the Armed Forces International Center, 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Cairo, is known to be one of Egypt's best hospitals. Reporters noticed an unusual number of guards there.

Since his Feb. 11 ouster, Mubarak and members of his family have been under house arrest at their compound in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The 82-year-old Mubarak was taken to a hospital there for unspecified heart problems on Tuesday, the day his questioning began.

One of the protest movement's central demands has been for Mubarak and his sons to face justice for corruption and other crimes committed throughout his 29-year rule and during the crackdown on demonstrations. The prosecutor did not say when Mubarak would leave Sharm el-Sheikh.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters, most of them Islamic hard-liners and members of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, protested in front of the governor's office in the southern city of Qena to denounce the appointment a day earlier of a new Coptic Christian governor.

The protesters chanted slogans calling for a Muslim governor, according to witnesses.

Egypt's political upheaval has coincided with worsening relations between Muslims and the Coptic Christian minority, starting with a suicide bombing outside a church in Alexandria on Jan. 1 that killed 21 people and set off days of protests.

In Cairo Friday, hundreds of Coptic Christians marched through downtown, calling for a secular state and for the release of all Christian detainees arrested during Christian-Muslim clashes in March.

The clashes left at least 13 dead and more than 100 wounded in the worst sectarian conflict in years in Egypt.

Coptic women dressed in black, while others waved Egyptian flags during the rally, which also remembered those killed during the clashes.

The Coptic Christian minority makes up 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million people and complains of widespread discrimination that they say relegates them to second-class citizen status.

In Berlin, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Friday of rising intolerance toward women and religious minorities and told an award ceremony that she was disturbed by recent developments in post-revolt Egypt in which women and Coptic Christians were singled out for attacks and abuse.

She said such incidents test the unity of pro-democracy demonstrators whose peaceful protests ousted Egypt's authoritarian president and could fracture the reform movement.