x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

More witnesses to take stand in Tamim trial

Witnesses in the trial of two men accused in the killing of Suzanne Tamim, the Lebanese pop singer, were due to give evidence today.

CAIRO// Witnesses in the trial of two men accused in the killing of Suzanne Tamim, the Lebanese pop singer, were due to give evidence today. The second session of the trial of Hisham Talaat Moustafa, the Egyptian billionaire and senior member of Egypt's ruling party, opened in Cairo yesterday after a month-long adjournment. Mohsen el Sokari, 39, a former Egyptian state security officer, accused of killing of the 31-year-old singer on Mr Moustafa's orders, is also in the dock.

The first witness, an Egyptian police officer who arrested Mr Sokari, told yesterday how the defendant described where he was hiding money he took in payment for killing Tamim. Mr Moustafa is charged with paying US$2 million (Dh7.3m) to have Tamim killed after she ended their relationship. Tamim was found dead in her apartment at Dubai's beachfront Jumeira Beach Residence on July 28, with stab wounds and her throat cut.

The two defendants, who deny involvement in Tamim's death, were taken into the court at 7.30am under tight security. More than 2,000 security guards surrounded the court, while plain-clothes officers could be seen on rooftops overlooking the court near Islamic Cairo. Tamim was discovered by a Lebanese talent company in 1996, but her troubled personal life began overshadowing her career. When the trial first opened on Oct 18, the prosecution presented the judge with evidence against the men, including Sokari's trousers, a Swiss army knife, a fingerprint report, a DNA test, security camera tapes and transcripts of phone conversations between the two men allegedly discussing the murder.

Mr Moustafa has been in custody since he was arrested on Sept 2 when Egypt's general prosecutor stripped him of his parliamentary immunity. Lawyers for Mr Moustafa requested he be released pending the outcome, but the judge refused. nmagd@thenational.ae