CAIRO - The lawyer of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Monday that the health of his 84-year-old client was "very critical" and he should be urgently moved to a hospital from the ill-equipped prison facility he is being held in.

Farid el-Deeb told Reuters that Mubarak's health condition was worsening, with a frequent irregular heart beat.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in jail on June 2 for failing to prevent the killing of protesters who rose up against him. He had been charged with ordering police to open fire. He was sent to Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo.

Egypt's prison authority had earlier approved a request to let Mubarak's eldest son, Alaa, stay close to him in the prison hospital in response to his deteriorating health, the state news agency said on Monday. But requests from his lawyer and family to move Mubarak to a hospital have not been answered.

Opponents of Mubarak say the former president and those around him were exaggerating his health condition in order to gain some public sympathy.

"This is deliberate murder. This is revenge. I am not saying release him. I am saying take him to a hospital where he can be kept and taken care of," Deeb said, attributing the lack of response to his requests to fear of a public backlash.

"The president is in a very bad state. Mubarak's state is very critical and he must be transferred immediately to a hospital. He spent his life in service of the country and this is unacceptable to keep him in this state," he added.

Deeb said authorities had ignored medical records pointing to the ill-health which had kept him in a high-end private hospital for the entire duration of his trial.

The acquittal of six senior police officers charged with the same crime for a lack of evidence angered many Egyptians who fear the ex-president may win an appeal.

"I have written official letters, attaching all his medical reports, to every actor involved. No one has responded. I am calling on them to move as fast as possible," Deeb said.

Mubarak had requested his son Alaa be moved close to him after authorities earlier agreed to a similar request to have his youngest son, Gamal, brought next to him.

The state news agency citing a security source in the Interior Ministry said prison authorities approved the move in response to "a deterioration in his health."

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