Mubaraks health becomes worse amid political crisis

CAIRO Hosni Mubaraks health sharply deteriorated Wednesday, days after he was sentenced to life in prison, and specialists were evaluating whether to transfer him to a better-equipped hospital outside the penal system, security officials said.

The deposed leaders health scare added to the uncertainty engulfing Egypt, where powerful political groups are seeking to bar Mubaraks former prime minister from the presidential runoff and derail the election.

Officials at Cairos Torah prison said the 84-year-old Mubaraks condition had moved to a dangerous phase and that doctors administered oxygen five times to help him breathe. He was also suffering from shock, high blood pressure and severe depression, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Mubarak was being treated in the prison hospitals intensive care unit, which recently underwent a $1 million renovation to prepare for his arrival, the officials said. He was the only patient in the five-bed ICU ward.

Dr. Hamdi el-Sayyed, who has treated Mubarak over the last decade, said imprisonment in Torah was inhumane given his age and poor health.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the gravity of Mubaraks condition. But the ex-leaders health has been an issue in recent years.

The ousted leader was ordered held in a military hospital after a government-appointed panel of physicians determined in May 2011 that he was too ill to be held in prison while awaiting trial, saying he suffered from heart trouble and had tumors in his pancreas removed. It did not say whether the tumors were malignant.