Egypt detains Mubarak and sons for 15 days

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The Independent Online

Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak will be detained for 15 days, the country's prosecutor general announced today, amid accusations of corruption and abuse of authority.

The Facebook page of the prosecutor general's office posted a statement announcing Mr Mubarak's detention, as well as that of his sons.

The page was set up as an outreach from the Justice Ministry to the families of those killed and injured during the 18 days of protests that ousted Mr Mubarak in mid-February.

The statement says the investigation was probing the orders to open fire on demonstrators as well as any abuse of the president's authority for personal gain.

Mr Mubarak was taken to hospital yesterday with heart problems.

Earlier today Maj Gen Mohammed el-Khatib, head of South Sinai security, told a crowd outside the court in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh that Mr Mubarak's sons had been detained amid an investigation of their role in violence against protesters and corruption.

Their 82-year-old father, who has been under house arrest in Sharm El-Sheikh for the last two months, was believed to be grooming his younger son Gamal, a top official in the ruling party, to succeed him.

His sons were questioned at the prosecutor's office in the provincial capital of El-Tor yesterday.

As a police van took away Gamal Mubarak and his businessman brother Alaa, the crowd pelted the vehicle with water bottles, stones and flip-flops, a sign of disrespect in the Arab world.

"Brothers, whatever you wanted, you have got ... 15 days," Maj Gen el-Khatib told the cheering crowd.

Dozens of demonstrators picketed the hospital yesterday, denouncing the president and carrying a sign reading "Here is the butcher". They scuffled with Mubarak supporters amid a massive security presence.

Two security officials said Mr Mubarak arrived under heavy police protection to the main hospital and, according to two doctors, stepped out of his armoured Mercedes unaided and was taken to the presidential suite in the pyramid-shaped building.

The protest movement that deposed Mr Mubarak is now pushing for him to be brought to justice for what they say are decades of abuse.

Mr Mubarak has been suffering for a number of ailments and underwent gall bladder surgery in Germany in March last year.

He has kept a low profile since he was ousted, living on his compound in Sharm el-Sheikh. He was banned from travelling and his assets have been frozen. Many of his senior aides have already either been questioned or detained pending investigations.