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Newspaper claims first Mubarak interview since detention

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 also too early to judge his elected successor, President Mohammed Morsi, because he has a heavy burden to deal with.

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He also 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. Calls to Mubarak’s lawyer Farid ElDeeb went unanswered, but he was quoted as telling Ahram Online, the electronic version of the state-owned Al-Ahram, 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. 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 also told the private ONTV station Sunday that he could not 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 Morsi hails. In his comments to the privately owned Egyptian paper, Mubarak appeared to be gloating, painting a picture of a nation that has unraveled after his 2011 ouster.

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