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Retrial for Egyptian mogul in Lebanese pop singer murder
Retrial for Egyptian mogul in Lebanese pop singer murder
An Egyptian appeals court has ordered a retrial in the murder of a Lebanese pop singer to businessman Hisham Talaat Mustafa, much to the anger and frustration of Egyptians.
Tuesday, March 9,2010 23:32
by Joseph Mayton BM&Ikhwanweb

CAIRO: Mustafa had been found guilty of paying former Egyptian State Security officer Mohsin el-Sokari of killing Susanne Tamim after they alleged ended an affair.

The judge presiding, Adil Abdel-Hamid, argued that the previous trial in May 2009, had procedural errors and that a retrial was necessary.

The real-estate mogul’s retrial has sent anger flowing through Egyptian society, who sees the decision as another attempt to let a wealthy individual off the hook. Ahmed Moneim, a 24-year-old recent college graduate now working in an upscale Cairo restaurant, said it shows that “with money, people in Egypt can do anything they want, including get off from their crimes.”

He added that if Mustafa, a former ruling National Democratic Party leader, had not been so known and wealthy, “he would have been executed by now and nobody would have said anything.”

The details of the killing are scary, worthy of a primetime murder mystery or horror show. According to the prosecution in the original trial, Mustafa hired Sokkari, a former Egyptian state security officer, to kill Tamim.

Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud described the crime as a “vengeful act.” Sukkari, who worked as a security officer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh – a hotel built and partially owned by Mustafa’s Talaat Mustafa Group – was paid $2 million by Mustafa to carry out the murder.

Reports indicate that Tamim had ended a three-year affair with the businessman and had recently left Cairo for Dubai.

Sukkari was arrested less than two hours after the killing, when Dubai police followed him back to the hotel he was staying at. According to police reports, Sukkari claimed Tamim was already dead when he arrived at her apartment, but a shirt with the singer’s blood on it were enough evidence to arrest the Egyptian.

Shortly before the trial started last fall, Ali El Din Hilal, NDP secretary for media affairs, told Arab satellite television network Orbit that the indictment is clear evidence that “the ruling party knows no cronyism and that nobody in Egypt is above the law.”

Mustafa’s arrest, Hilal continued, reveals that a review of the relationship between big business and government is overdue.

“The lack of any legal framework regulating the relationship between wealth and power opens the door wide for corruption, conflicts of interest and cronyism.”

“They [the government] understand how important image abroad is and with Obama having come to Egypt, it is vital for Cairo to be seen as moving forward, even when the majority of the population continues to languish in horrific conditions.”

Human Rights groups have been critical of Egypt’s use of the death penalty. Last year, 24 people were sentenced to death in one decision and 11 Egyptians were also sentenced to death by hanging in a similar decision.

“It is something that needs to be looked at closely,” said Hafez Abu Saeda, the head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), last year, “because throughout the world we have seen that the more people are put to death this increases the use of violence in society. Is this the Egypt we want?”


tags: Appeals Court / Pop Singer / Hisham Talaat / Tamim / Egyptian State Security / Egyptian Society / Sukkari / Dubai Police
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