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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's security authorities have received notice to move Hosni Mubarak to Cairo for trial, Al Arabiya television said Tuesday, but a senior security source denied this, adding to the fevered speculation about whether the ousted leader will attend.
Mubarak, 83, has been hospitalized in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April when he was first questioned. His trial is scheduled for Wednesday.
Many Egyptians see his illness as a ruse so the army can avoid publicly humiliating their former commander, who has been charged with conspiring to kill protesters and other crimes.
Al Arabiya, which cited its reporter, said the notice about moving the ousted president was issued to authorities in South Sinai, which is responsible for the Sharm el-Sheikh area. But a senior South Sinai security source denied this to Reuters.
Demonstrators are likely to be enraged if Mubarak does not appear in the court that has been set up in a Police Academy complex where he addressed the nation two days before protests against his rule erupted on January 25. He quit 18 days later.
The health minister has said the former president is well enough to be moved. A source at the hospital said staff were on standby to transfer him early Wednesday but could not confirm if a decision had been taken to do so.
"I really hope he will come to court and stand trial. This man has done a lot of bad things to his people and there is no excuse for him to do so, but whether he will get convicted or not, I really do not think I will live to see this day," said Mary Gerges, 23, speaking in Cairo on her way to work.
"I think the man is so guilty and I don't know how he cannot have been aware of all the bad things that were happening when he was in power, he was the president and was in charge of everything," said Saleh Abdel Aziz, 52, owner of a shop store in Abdel Aziz street in downtown Cairo.
He will stand trial with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, as well as the former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and six other senior officers. A business executive included in the trial will be tried in absentia.
Charges range from conspiring to kill protesters to abuse of power to amass wealth.
Additional reporting by Marwa Awad in Sharm el-Sheikh and Dina Zayed and Sherine El Madany in Cairo; Writing by Edmund Blair