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Egypt's Mubarak talks for 1st time since detention, or does he?

| Sunday, May 12, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

CAIRO — In his first comments to the media since he was detained more than two years ago, Egypt's ousted leader, Hosni Mubarak, said he is dismayed at the country's state of affairs and particularly the plight of the poor.

The 85-year old Mubarak said in remarks published Sunday in Al-Watan newspaper that it is too early to judge his elected successor, Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, because he has a heavy burden to deal with. He warned against a much-negotiated loan from the International Monetary Fund, saying it would make life harder for the poor in Egypt, where over 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

The authenticity of the interview could not be immediately verified.

Mubarak was quoted as telling the state-owned Ahram Online, that the interview was a “fabrication.”

Al-Watan's reporter, Mohammed el-Sheik, took photos of himself near and inside Mubarak's medical helicopter, without the ex-leader inside. El-Sheik said he conducted the interview after sneaking into a waiting area where Mubarak was held during his trial Saturday, apparently before the hearing began.

He told the private ONTV station that he couldn't record the interview because he had to avoid Mubarak's tight security.

Mubarak has been a longtime nemesis of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsy hails. In his comments to the privately owned Egyptian paper, Mubarak appeared to be gloating, painting a picture of a nation that has unraveled following his 2011 ouster and portraying himself as a protector of the poor.

Mubarak stepped down in February 2011 in the face of a wave of popular protests whose main slogan was “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice.” Protesters accused Mubarak of fostering a culture where power was centralized and police acted with impunity. They believed Mubarak was grooming one of his sons to succeed him.

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