All of those rumors of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak being in a coma, or even dead were untrue. Today he made a televised speech to the Egyptian people, where he denied that he used his position to amass wealth and property during three decades in power, and issued an emotional defense of his legacy.
It seemed like the last stand of a defeated old tyrant, according to observers, Mubarak spoke with a tone of authority more in keeping with his past position than his current situation. He said he had agreed to “authorize” an investigation of his finances, and promised to sue all those who smeared his reputation.
“I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting—my family and I—from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military history,” Mubarak said.
Since his ouster, Mubarak and his family have been under house arrest at a presidential palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and all of their assets have been frozen.
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In his speech, the former president said he only possessed a single account in an Egyptian bank and only held property in Egypt. He said he would agree in writing, if requested, to allow the prosecutor-general to contact other countries to investigate whether he or his wife, Suzanne, owned any accounts or property abroad.
He said the move was to “prove to the people that their former president only owns domestically, according to previous financial disclosure.”
Mubarak’s official salary as president, set by the Egyptian constitution, was about $3,400.
Unlike other Arab rulers, Mubarak and his family rarely flaunted whatever wealth they had. But there is that little matter of the exclusive townhouse in London owned by Mubarak’s son, Gamal. Egyptian protesters have seized on that town house as a symbol of conspicuous consumption by the deposed tyrant.
Essam El-Erian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood called for Mubarak to be tried saying that the former President still believes he is above accountability.
“Trying Mubarak is not only about bringing back the money. It also sets a precedent here that every ruler and president that comes after will know” he will face prosecution for any violations, El-Erian said.
Mubarak’s speech was made in the background of increasing protests in Egypt against the military rule which replaced the President.
Hundreds of Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against a pre-dawn assault on Saturday on 1,000 activists camped there to maintain pressure on the ruling generals to meet the demands of the democracy movement. Three people died and dozens were wounded.
The operation to clear the square was conducted by troops of the regular army and elements from the hated internal security forces blamed for the deaths of 180 protesters during the uprising.
The saga of the Egyptian revolution has not even closed its first chapter.