Elusive facts about Mubarak
Gamal Essam El-Din
sifts through conflicting reports on the state of former president Hosni Mubarak's health
Three weeks before Hosni Mubarak is due to face trial on corruption and murder charges and rumours abound about the former president's health.
Will he actually turn up for his own trial?
No one seems to know whether he will appear in court alongside his sons, Alaa and Gamal, and business associate Hussein Salem, to face accusations of illegal profiteering and ordering the killing of peaceful protesters.
In the face of conflicting reports about Mubarak's health representatives of the revolution's youth movements have asked Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to allow a delegation of activists to visit the Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital to assess for themselves the condition of the former president.
Leading Kifaya member George Ishaq told a gathering in Tahrir Square on Sunday that "delegations should visit Sharm El-Sheikh to make sure Mubarak is really there."
"If his health is stable, as Ministry of Health officials suggest, then why has he not been transferred to the hospital at Tora prison, like any prisoner awaiting trial?" asked Ishaq.
"Another delegation should go to the Tora prison to make sure that the two sons of Mubarak, Alaa and Gamal, are actually there since speculation is rife that they are not actually behind bars. It must be established that Mubarak, his sons and their henchmen, are not receiving privileged treatment."
"How is it that police officers implicated in opening fire on people during the revolution go free while protesters face military trials?"
Crowds in Tahrir Square have repeatedly condemned the slow handling of the Mubarak trial and there is a growing perception that "the army and the Sharaf government have joined hands to protect the Mubaraks", as one placard announced.
On 10 July groups participating in the Tahrir Square sit-in issued two statements outlining their demands from the government. Top of the list is a quick and public trial of the Mubarak family and other symbols of their now defunct regime.
On Tuesday, Cairo Criminal Court convicted Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and two of his government's Cabinet ministers -- minister of interior Habib El-Adli and minister of finance Youssef Boutros Ghali -- of corruption and sentenced them to up to 10 years in jail.
Nazif, prime minister from 2004 to 2011, was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence. El-Adli, Mubarak's longest-serving interior minister (1997-2011) was sent to five years in prison. El-Adli is already serving a 12-year sentence after being convicted of money laundering. Youssef Boutros Ghali, a close associate of Mubarak's son Gamal, was tried in absentia and received 10 years.
The three were found guilty of "illegal profiting" in the manufacture and sale of new car license plates introduced nationwide last year. They were accused of awarding a German company, Utsch, a license supplying the plates which violated bidding procedure laws and cost the state treasury LE92 million.
In a statement on 11 July Deputy Minister of Health Adel Adawi denied claims that Mubarak's health had deteriorated and he was now on a ventilator.
On Sunday veteran journalist Ibrahim Eissa claimed on his talk show on Tahrir TV that a "reliable source" had confirmed that Mubarak had suffered heart failure and only recovered when electric shocks were applied. Eissa wondered aloud on the programme whether people would start to show sympathy for the former president, and asked how his "deteriorating health" might affect the political landscape.
Mubarak, said Adawi, remains in his third floor room at Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital. He has low blood pressure, which results in dizziness and a reduced heartbeat, but it is not severe enough for the former president to be admitted into intensive care.
Mubarak's lawyer Farid El-Deeb has done the round of TV talk show, endlessly repeating that Mubarak's health is now so bad that "he is no longer able to go to the bathroom by himself".
Mubarak, says El-Deeb, suffers from stomach cancer and should be allowed to be examined by the German doctor who earlier treated his condition. News stories have appeared claiming that the doctor did in fact visit Mubarak two weeks ago, though they were denied by Michael Bock, the German ambassador to Egypt.
On his TV talk show Eissa also speculated on possible scenarios when Mubarak dies.
"Will he be given a military funeral? Will his sons be allowed to attend? Would his death herald the end of the revolution?" asked Eissa.
On social media websites Twitter and Facebook Eissa's "revelations" were met with scepticism.
"Zombie Mubarak died for two minutes and was resurrected", read one post.
A cartoon of Mubarak lying on a water bed in the middle of a swimming pool near Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital as a major general from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces offers him fruit juice has proved particularly popular on Twitter.
Mubarak's absence from public view has allowed conspiracy theorists to go into overdrive. Stories about Mubarak's deteriorating health are being circulated in an attempt to garner sympathy for the former president, say some. Others claim that Mubarak is already dead while there are those who believe Mubarak left for Saudi Arabia immediately after his resignation from office on 11 February.
The ill-health stories, if they were intended to rouse sympathy, have backfired. Instead, they have upped the pressure on the government and ruling military junta to ensure that justice is seen to be done, and quickly.
"The Egyptian people want to see Mubarak and his two sons facing trial. When that happens a major goal of the 25 January Revolution will have been secured," Ishaq told Al-Ahram Weekly. "And even if he dies before the trial it will be imperative for the public to see his face before he is entombed."