A man reads Al Watan at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Mubarak said it was too early to judge Mursi, saying the Islamist faced a difficult job, in comments billed as his first interview since his removal in 2011. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said in remarks published on Sunday that he was distressed by the situation in the country more than two years after his overthrow.

“You cannot imagine the distress and sorrow I feel when I see the new cities I built and the achievements I made being destroyed and shut down in moments, as well as the lack of security that all Egypt is suffering from,” Mubarak told the independent newspaper Al Watan, which claimed the first interview with him since the 2011 uprising.

The 85-year-old is being detained during a retrial on charges of involvement in the killing of more than 800 protesters and alleged corruption.

The ex-president also said future generations would judge him “fairly”. “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,” Mubarak told the newspaper on the sidelines of his re-trial on Saturday.

The independent Al Watan is highly critical of Egypt’s new ruling Islamists.

Mubarak also said that it was too early to judge his successor Mohammad Mursi, a member of the influential Muslim Brotherhood movement and archfoe of the toppled leader.

“I do not want to talk about that subject, but in the end, he’s a new president who bears heavy responsibilities for the first time, and who shouldn’t be judged for the moment,” Mubarak said when asked to comment on Mursi.

Mubarak also said that he was “very, very sad” for the poorest Egyptians who face a deteriorating economic and security situation.

“Throughout my presidency, I took care of people on low incomes... and I refused to take any measures against them. That is the secret of my sadness, to see the situation of people on low incomes,” he said.

On of the main slogans of the uprising that pushed Mubarak out of power was: “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice.”

Mubarak also voiced concern over efforts by Egypt to secure a $4.8 billion (Dh 17.6 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund, saying the deal’s conditions “are very tough and are dangerous for Egypt’s economy, and that will affect the poor citizens”.

The IMF and Egypt have been in talks for months over the loan that is contingent on strong support from domestic political actors and a commitment to key reforms.

Authorities believe the IMF loan will help restore investor confidence in Egypt, where unrest that accompanied the 2011 uprising hammered revenue from the once-lucrative tourism industry.

Mubarak appeared in court on Saturday to face a new trial for complicity in the murder of hundreds of protesters during the uprising, as well as for corruption.

He was granted a retrial after his appeal against a life sentence was accepted due to procedural failings the first time around.

Al Watan’s reporter, Mohammad Al Shaikh, said he conducted the interview after sneaking into a rest area where Mubarak was held before being transported back to prison in a helicopter. Al Shaikh told the private ONTV station Sunday that he couldn’t record the interview because he had entered he sneaked to see Mubarak amid tight security.

Mubarak’s last public comments were in April 2011, just before he was detained. At the time, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV station aired a prerecorded audiotape by Mubarak, in which he emotionally denied he used his position to amass wealth.