x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Prosecutors demand death penalty for contract killing of Lebanese singer

The prosecution yesterday demanded the death penalty for the two defendants accused of killing Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai last summer.

CAIRO // The prosecution yesterday demanded the death penalty for the two defendants accused of killing Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai last summer. For more than three hours the prosecution outlined its case against Hisham Talaat Moustafa, formerly the head of one of Egypt's biggest property companies and a member of the nation's parliament, and Mohsen el Sokari, a former Egyptian state security officer.

Mr Moustafa, 49, is charged with paying Mr Sokari, 39, US$2 million (Dh7.3m) to kill Ms Tamim after she had ended a relationship with him and moved to London, where she found another boyfriend. The singer, 31, was found murdered in her apartment at Jumeirah Beach Residences on July 28. "This is premeditated killing crime in which Mohsen el Sokari was a hired killer, which is the worst kind of murderer," the prosecutor Moustafa Soliman said in the Cairo Criminal Court yesterday.

"Hisham Talaat Moustafa's role in the case made him a professional killer, even if he didn't kill her by his hands, by instigating, agreeing and assisting Mohsen to kill her. "This case has attracted, and is still attracting, the attention of Egyptian and Arab public opinion, in an unprecedented way. People are eager to make sure that money and power don't protect their holders from punishment." Mr el Sokari was arrested in Cairo in August. Mr Moustafa has been in custody since the September, when his immunity was lifted so he could be questioned.

The trial, which began on Oct 18 last year, was adjourned until today when the defence will begin its case. nmagd@thenational.ae