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Mubarak clings to life in Cairo hospital

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak sits inside a cage in a courtroom during his verdict hearing in Cairo on June 2, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Mubarak slips in and out of consciousness but is still alive, a government spokesman says
  • The longtime Egyptian ruler was ousted in a 2011 revolt
  • He was sentenced to life in prison on June 2

Egypt's jailed ex-strongman Hosni Mubarak clung to life Tuesday despite slipping in and out of consciousness, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The spokesman, Gen. Marwan Mustapha, said Mubarak's condition had stabilized "and a number of doctors from the prison authority are monitoring him," along with physicians from the armed forces.

"He does go in and out of this state of unconsciousness, but new equipment has been installed in the ICU room of the hospital on Saturday to accommodate his fragile situation," Mustapha said. "His two sons are beside him, and his wife visited him today."

Mubarak, 84, was sentenced to life in prison on June 2 for the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators during the 2011 revolt that toppled him. He was already suffering from health problems and attended court on a gurney -- but Mustapha said rumors that Mubarak had died were false.

"The state of weakness and unconsciousness may have been mistaken for a coma by officials who are not fully aware, but indeed his situation is delicate," he said. "His high blood pressure is being treated, while heart doctors are managing his irregular heartbeat issues."

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More than 800 people died and 6,000 were wounded during the uprising that brought an end to Mubarak's 29-year rule. The ex-president and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were convicted of ordering security forces to kill anti-government protesters and could have been sentenced to death.

But both were given life terms instead, and other top aides -- as well as Mubarak's two sons, who had been tried on corruption charges -- were acquitted. The sentences and acquittals provoked howls of outrage both inside and outside the courtroom.

Mubarak became president after the in October 1981 assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. He ruled Egypt with an iron hand as a staunch ally of the United States, which provides about $1.3 billion a year in military aid.