Egyptian medical officials say the country's deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, is weak and is refusing solid food - increasing speculation that he will not stand trial next week for his alleged role in the killing of anti-government protesters.
Mr. Mubarak's chief doctor, Assem Azzam, said Tuesday the former president suffers from severe depression. He also said medical officials will consider feeding him intravenously if his condition deteriorates.
The head of the hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik, where Mr. Mubarak is being treated, told Egypt's official news agency, MENA, that he has lost weight and is suffering "weakness and severe infirmity."
The 83-year-old former president ceded power in February following a popular uprising that has transfixed the Arab world.
He is scheduled to go on trial August 3 on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of anti-government protesters during the 18-day revolution that deposed him. Nearly 900 people were killed during the uprising.
If convicted, Mr. Mubarak could be sentenced to death. Any delay in his trial likely would further incite tensions between the military council ruling Egypt and protesters frustrated with the pace of change.
Rumors about Mr. Mubarak's health have been widespread. Critics suspect they are designed to prevent him from standing trial.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.