Middle East

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has stomach cancer - lawyer

Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, 19 October
Image caption Mr Mubarak is due to go on trial on 3 August charged with the killing of protesters

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is due to stand trial in August, is suffering from stomach cancer, his lawyer has said.

"He has a stomach cancer and the tumours are growing," lawyer Farid el-Deeb said.

The former leader is in custody at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after reportedly having heart problems during earlier questioning.

He is charged with the deaths of protesters during Egypt's uprising.

Last month, officials said he was too sick to be moved from hospital to prison while he awaited trial, because his heart condition put him at risk of a sudden attack.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says Mr Deeb has told some reporters that Mr Mubarak has had cancer, but to others he has said that the former leader is suffering from symptoms which could be cancer.

Our correspondent says that many in Egypt will treat the report with deep scepticism.

Surgeon visit request

Mr Deeb said Mubarak underwent "critical surgery" in Germany last year, during which his gallbladder and part of his pancreas were removed.

He said he has asked Egypt's prosecutor-general to allow the German surgeon to visit Mr Mubarak for a medical check-up.

The request had been referred to Egypt's ruling military council, he said, but no decision had been made yet.

There had been rumours about Mr Mubarak's health during his rule, but government officials always denied he had any serious illness.

Along with his sons Alaa and Gamal, Mr Mubarak has been charged with "premeditated murder" of some participants in the protests, charges he denies. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

Hundreds of people died in 18 days of revolt against Mr Mubarak, who lost power in February after ruling for almost three decades.

The former leader is also being questioned over charges that he and his family made huge profits during the three decades he spent as Egyptian president.