x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

New lawyers join Tamim murder case

Two added to defence team after Moustafa's death sentence to help formulate an appeal within the next two months.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, centre, leaves court in Cairo last Thursday.
Hisham Talaat Moustafa, centre, leaves court in Cairo last Thursday.

CAIRO // Two additional lawyers yesterday joined the defence team of Hisham Talaat Moustafa, the property magnate and senior member of Egypt's ruling party whose death sentence for his part in the murder of the Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was confirmed last Thursday. Bahaa Abu Shaqa and his son Mohammed Bahaa Abu Shaqa will work independently from Hafez Farhoud and Farid el Deeb, the lawyers who defended the tycoon during the trial, Mohammed Bahaa Abu Shaqa said. They will help to formulate an appeal within the next two months.

"We were contacted by Moustafa's family directly - his mother, brother, sister and wife," Mohammed Bahaa Abu Shaqa added. "We suggested and are discussing other names with them. Our role will start as soon as the judges submit their reasoning of the verdict." The court announced its original verdict on May 21 pending a review by Egypt's Grand Mufti. Now the judges have a month to submit their reasoning, with the defendants having 60 days after last week's verdict to file an appeal. A successful appeal would lead to a retrial with different judges.

According to Egyptian law, appeals can be based on legal grounds only and are decided by five or seven panel judges from the Court of Cassation. On Thursday, Mohammadi Qonsowa, the head of the three-judge trial panel, confirmed the sentence for Moustafa, 49, who was convicted of inciting, assisting and paying US$2 million (Dh7.3m) to Mohsen el Sokari, a former state security officer, to kill Tamim after she started dating another man in London. El Sokari, 40, was also sentenced to death. Death sentences in Egypt are carried out by hanging.

El Sokari's father, Mounir el Sokari, said in a telephone interview yesterday that his son was keeping his two lawyers, Atef el Manawi and his son Anis. Tamim, 30 when she died on July 28, was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit and body bruised at the entrance to her apartment at the Rimal complex in Jumeirah Beach Residence. nmagd@thenational.ae