But I ordered a room with a view! Mubarak's first night in jail
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received two shocks on Saturday: a life sentence and orders for his immediate transfer from the International Medical Center where he was staying to the prison where he will serve out his sentence.
Mubarak was taken by surprise when he discovered that the helicopter that was transferring him landed on the grounds of the Tora Prison in southern Cairo and for four whole hours refused to get off, the Egyptian daily independent al-Masry al-Youm reported.
According to security sources, Mubarak asked where he was the moment the helicopter landed and when one of his personal guards told him they were at the Tora prison, he snapped: “This is not what we agreed on. I want to go to the medical center.” Mubarak got very angry and asked to meet the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as well as the Interior Minister.
Several senior security officials tried talking him into getting off the helicopter but failed. It was only when his sons Alaa and Gamal talked to him along with the Deputy Interior Minister for Prison Affairs that he was finally convinced.
The three of them told him that the verdict has to be implemented, that the room where he would stay is furnished with the most advanced of medical equipment, and that an entire team of doctors will be in charge of tending to him.
An ambulance then came to take Mubarak to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the Tora Prison’s hospital which is also fully equipped to deal with his medical condition.
Mubarak expressed his disappointment when he entered the ICU and complained that it was too small. When prison officials told him that it was the only room ready to receive him, he objected and refused to have the doctors examine him.
He only agreed half an hour later after he was able to submit a request to have three of his doctors attend to him in prison. (The Prisons Authority is currently looking into the request.)
The sources added that Mubarak sank into deep depression after prison officials read him the rules which included only two visits per month. He is also to get three meals a day which will be carefully inspected before being presented to him. Sources, however, refused to disclose where he receives food from.
Mubarak also refused to don the blue prison uniform and insisted on wearing a blue training suit. He also asked to see his grandson Omar.
Sources denied rumors that the president’s sons are staying with him and confirmed that only people who have already been sentenced have been put in jail whereas Gamal and Alaa are still detained pending trial in a corruption case.
The sources told al-Masry al-Youm that Mubarak met with Fathi Sorour, former speaker of the People’s Assembly, Egypt’s lower house of parliament, and Safwat al-Sharif, former speaker of the Consultative Assembly, Egypt’s upper house of parliament, who both frequent the prison’s hospital.
He complained to them of SCAF’s mistreatment especially after he was stripped of all his military honors. They both tried to calm him down and told him that in 60 days, the verdict will be appealed and he will be acquitted.
Security was intensified inside the prison grounds with special forces stationed in front of the main gates and snipers in all the compound’s towers as well as the water reservoir in order to get a view of all the surroundings.
Armored vehicles surround the facility and the neighboring streets and all houses in the area were carefully inspected before Mubarak was taken to the prison.
Security personnel in charge of guarding the prison have also been provided with state-of-art communication devices in addition to machine guns.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)
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