The editor of an independent Egyptian daily is to face prosecution over his paper's coverage of the state of President Hosni Mubarak's health, the head of the journalists' union told AFP on Monday.
"The state security prosecutor has informed us that it has summoned Ibrahim Eissa for questioning," Gamal Fahmy said, adding that judicial sources had told the syndicate that it was over rumors of Mubarak's ill-health.
Recent speculation about Mubarak has included his hospitalization, travel abroad for medical treatment and even death, prompting him to make an unannounced visit to an industrial zone near his summer home on the Mediterranean coast in a bid to dispel the rumors.
Eissa, whose newspaper Al-Destur was once closed by the government for five years, was convicted last year of insulting Mubarak in an article describing a lawsuit against the president.
The editor, who has not been jailed pending the outcome of his appeal, has long been known for his confrontational style of journalism and repeated criticism of the government since the mid-1990s.
Eissa told AFP he was shocked to receive the summons.
"All the independent and state dailies have written about the subject and no one else has been summoned," he said.
On Sunday, Egypt's first lady, Suzanne Mubarak, dismissed rumors of her husband's ill health in an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel and called for those spreading such rumors to be held accountable.
President Mubarak told the state-owned Al-Ahram daily on August 31 that the rumors were politically motivated and produced by "illegitimate movements," -- an allusion to the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group in Egypt.