A London-based Arabic newspaper denied on Sunday reports that former Syrian prime minister Mahmud al-Zu’bi, expelled from the ruling Baath party and facing corruption charges, has tried to kill himself.
In an article headlined: "Damascus says Zu’bi suffering health problems," Al-Hayat newspaper quoted "informed sources" as saying that Zu’bi had fallen ill on hearing of the steps taken against him.
Zu’bi, who is in his sixties, "suffered health problems that required medical examination... as a result of previous illnesses and as a result of the legal procedures taken against him," the sources said in a news item datelined Damascus.
The sources did not specify his illness and denied that he had tried to kill himself.
Another London-based Arabic newspaper, Azzaman, reported Saturday that Zu’bi, who resigned as prime minister in March this year after 13 years in the post, was in hospital after attempting suicide.
Azzaman also said former transport minister, Mufid Abdel Karim, and the former information minister, Mohammad Salman, had been summoned from abroad for questioning over "administrative, financial and legal irregularities during their terms in Zu’bi's government."
Al-Hayat's sources said the two were back in Syria "after their holiday ended," but denied "any official measures" regarding any former ministers whether in terms of expulsion from the Baath party or legal charges.
Syria's ruling Baath party decided Wednesday to expel Zu’bi and to take him to court to answer for the "irregularities and abuses" committed under his administration.
Al-Hayat's sources said measures taken against Zu’bi included confiscating more than 50 cars registered in his name and those of his children -- (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )