"Coming generations will view me fairly," a pensive former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has said in his first comments since his ouster two years ago.
Mr. Mubarak, 85, who is facing a retrial on charges of complicity in the death of protesters killed during the popular uprising that ousted him, said "I have said in the past that history would bear witness and judge, and I am still certain that future generations will judge me fairly."
In an interview to Al-Watan newspaper, he said it was too early to judge his successor President Mohamed Mursi, saying the Islamist leader faced a difficult job.
"He is a new president who is carrying out weighty missions for the first time, and we shouldn't judge him now," Mr. Mubarak said in the remarks published on Sunday.
Al-Watan, which is fiercely critical of Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, said its journalist spoke to Mr. Mubarak after sneaking into the rest area of the court where the former president appeared yesterday for a retrial.
Mr. Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years, said he was saddened by what he described as the difficult conditions facing the poor and the Egyptian economy, which has been hammered by political instability that has frightened off tourists and investors.
"This is the secret of my sadness: to see the poor in this condition," said Mr. Mubarak, who was toppled by an uprising fuelled by economic hardship.
He said he was worried by the prospect of Egypt concluding an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a USD 4.8 billion loan seen as vital to supporting the economy. The loan would bring austerity measures likely to curb subsidy spending.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mubarak's lawyer told Ahram Online that the interview was a fabrication.
"The whole interview is a lie; I talked to the president [Hosni Mubarak] and he affirmed that he never spoke to the journalist," said El-Deeb, who also argued that the photos attached to the interview prove nothing.
"Who knows where these pictures were taken....There are more than 5,000 pictures of that moment," he said.
Last month, Mr. Mubarak was transferred to prison from a military hospital after his condition improved.
There were rumours that he was critical and may die soon.However, he looked strong in the footage beamed from the courtroom.
According to estimates, about 850 people were killed in the crackdown during the 2011 uprising against his rule.