Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak is slipping in and out of consciousness eight days after he was transferred to a prison hospital to serve his life sentence, a security official said.
Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, and her two daughters-in-law were granted special permission to visit him early on Sunday to quash rumours of his death, the official said at Cairo's Torah prison.
Since then Mubarak has had an irregular heartbeat and required assistance in breathing. The official said Mubarak was consuming only liquids and yoghurt.
Mubarak's health is reported to have collapsed since his conviction on 2 June for failing to stop the killing of protesters during last year's uprising.
Officials have turned down several requests by Mubarak's family to transfer him back to a military facility, where he had been held before his conviction.
On Saturday Mubarak's wife was denied access to the prison hospital's intensive care unit, as family visits are limited to one a month.
According to security officials quoted by al-Masry al-Youm daily, Mrs Mubarak lashed out at wardens for not giving her husband permission to seek treatment outside the prison. "You will be responsible for his death," she reportedly said.
Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, remain in custody. They were acquitted of corruption charges but still face separate charges of insider trading.
On Saturday Egypt's state-run news agency Mena said Mubarak was at risk of a stroke, quoting a medical team's report. Other media reports said his lawyer Farid al-Deeb had informed him that he would soon be transferred back to a military facility in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo.
In his last public appearance on 2 June, the bedridden Mubarak sat stone-faced in a courtroom cage. Officials said he broke into tears when he learned he would be transferred to Torah's prison. It took officials hours to convince him to leave the helicopter that ferried him from the court to the prison.
Media reports quoted Mubarak at the time as saying the military council who took over after his removal as leader had deceived him. "Egypt has sold me. They want me to die here," he reportedly said.
The verdict sparked protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians who said it could be easily overturned in an appeal, and that the acquittals of six top security officials meant the killers of the protesters would remain unknown. Many hoped Mubarak or his top officials would be convicted of murder and receive the death penalty.
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