x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Expert casts doubts on Tamim murder scientific work

An Egyptian expert has criticised the work of the Dubai forensic science team during a hearing into the murder of the Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim.

CAIRO // An Egyptian expert criticised the work of the Dubai forensic science team during a hearing into the murder of the Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim yesterday. Dr Ahmed Ibrahim el Seginy, 58, an Egyptian forensic science professor at Ain Shams medical school, made the claims during a hearing at Cairo Criminal Court where Mohsen el Sokari, 41, a former Egyptian state-security officer, and Hesham Talaat Moustafa, 50, a property magnate, are facing murder charges.

Mr el Seginy criticised the work of a DNA expert and a forensic scientist with Dubai Police who conducted the autopsy. He tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of samples taken from the crime scene and said that more tests should have been conducted on Tamim's body. Dr el Seginy also questioned testimony from the Egyptian forensic scientist, Dr Heba el Iraqi, who examined blood-stained clothes said to belong to el Sokari. Dr el Iraqi, who is affiliated with Egypt's justice ministry, gave evidence on Sunday and defended her work, saying it matched reports by her Dubai counterparts.

El Sokari is accused of killing Tamim, 30, in her Dubai apartment on July 28, 2008 in exchange for a US$2 million (Dh7.3m) payment from Moustafa, a member of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party who had dated the singer until late 2006. The trial has gripped the Egyptian public. Surveillance footage from Dubai Police earlier in the trial appeared to show el Sokari leaving his hotel on the day of the crime, entering Tamim's building and leaving 12 minutes later in a different set of clothes.

It was alleged that he had dumped a set of clothes stained with the singer's blood a floor below her apartment. The three presiding judges yesterday also heard testimony from Magdi Mounir, 37, who had previously done work installing surveillance cameras at hotels owned by Moustafa in Alexandria and Sharm el Sheikh. Mr Mounir refuted claims made by an earlier witness who had installed cameras at Tamim's Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment who said that footage from the devices could not be tampered with.

When the prosecutor, Moustafa Soliman, asked Mr Mounir how he had the experience to make such claims, he said: "This is my opinion. I never examined any of these cameras with my hand." The hearing was adjourned until today when further testimony on the surveillance footage will be heard. Moustafa and el Sokari were handed death sentences in May last year but were granted a retrial on March 4. nmagd@thenational.ae