After months of rumors that Egyptian ex-president Hosni Mubarak was at death’s door, footage of the toppled leader looking strong and defiant in court stunned many who had cared little about his fate.
The 84-year-old Mubarak, who is being held at a military hospital in Cairo, has been treated for a heart condition, fractured ribs, fluid in the lungs, depression and high blood pressure, according to lawyers and official accounts. At one point last year he was even declared clinically dead as he slipped into a coma.
On April 13, however, he was in the dock, sitting upright and looking strong. Wearing sunglasses, he waved and smiled at supporters, chatting casually with his two sons Alaa and Gamal who face corruption charges.
“I expected to see a sick old man and I expected to feel sorry for him,” said Cairo resident Heba Radwan. “But the pictures of him smiling and waving, they were so provocative.”
His demeanor was in stark contrast to the pictures of a pale and ailing Mubarak at the start of his trial in August 2011.
“Mubarak in top form” read the headline of the state-owned Al-Akhbar.