x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Singer killed in brutal knife attack

Suzan Tamim hosted a party at her home the night before she was found dead with knife wounds to her face and body.

No suspects have yet been arrested in the murder of Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim.
No suspects have yet been arrested in the murder of Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim.

Suzan Tamim, the murdered Lebanese singer, had hosted a party at her home the night before she was found dead with knife wounds to her face and body. The body of Tamim, 31, was discovered in the living room of her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment on Monday night, police said. Her throat had been cut and she had been the victim of a frenzied knife attack.

The night before her body was found, Tamim had a late-night gathering, with about 20 guests partying until the early hours of Monday morning. Her body was found after friends and family grew concerned when they could not contact her all day. A police source said detectives were pursuing a possible lead after a security guard, on duty at Tamim's Rimal 1 tower the day she was murdered, described a man demanding to know her apartment number. He was last seen entering the lift and heading for her apartment on the 22nd floor about 9am on Monday - which is the time police believe she was murdered.

Despite several people being brought in for questioning, no one has yet been arrested in the singer's murder. Robert Safri, who was Tamim's manager for three years in the latter part of her short career and became close friends with the star and her estranged husband, Adel Maatouk, said yesterday: "The police in Dubai have promised to release the body within 48 hours and conclude their investigations.

"Mr Maatouk has flown to Dubai, but the police aren't telling him anything more than that, he has taken a Lebanese lawyer with him to Dubai to follow the case." Mr Safri said he and Mr Maatouk were shocked and upset by Tamim's death. "I was very close to Suzan. When we heard what had happened, we were very shocked, especially Mr Maatouk; he was very, very upset. I stayed with him all night and consoled him before he flew to Dubai the next day."

Grief-stricken fans and former colleagues of the singer have spoken of their shock over her murder. On the internet site Facebook, a page - RIP Suzan Tamim - was created hours after the news broke that the star had been found dead. One fan said: "Oh beloved of the masses, oh most beautiful voice, most beautiful image, rest in peace. You were attacked, exiled, treated unfairly and in the end they killed you. Why?"

Elias Rahbani, the well-known Lebanese record producer and music composer, said: "I worked with her in 1996. I can't imagine anyone like her being butchered. She was really sweet and beautiful. She could have been a big star if this hadn't happened. We had planned to work together, but she left suddenly." Born in Lebanon in 1977, Tamim signed a lucrative record deal after graduating from Studio Al Phan, an academy that nurtures up-and-coming pop stars in Lebanon in 1996.

However, she became more famous for her antics out of the studio. A very public divorce from her first husband, Ali Mouzanner, was followed by a failed marriage to Mr Maatouk. In 2005, she was arrested by Interpol in Egypt over allegations that she had stolen US$350,000 (Dh1.28 million) from Mr Maatouk. A Lebanese court sentenced her to two years in jail and fined her following accusations from her husband that she had fled to Egypt, breaking their management contract. While in Egypt, she faced allegations of being involved in a heroin smuggling ring with her father. Later that same year, she was accused, again with her father and an Egyptian businessman, of attempting to murder Mr Maatouk.

Hoping to get her promising career back on track, she returned to the recording studio in 2006. She recorded 25 songs, 10 of which were selected for her new album. Her most popular song is Saken Albi, from the album of the same title. Meanwhile, residents in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) say they are taking extra security measures, including double-locking their doors and parking near elevators. They say police should calm fears among the thousands of expatriates that Tamim's murderer may strike again.

One New Zealander who lives in the Amwaj cluster of JBR, which is several hundred metres from Tamim's apartment, said: "There are too many entrances for the apartments to be secure. Pretty much anyone can gain access to the building from the Marina Walk side of the development. Since this has happened, and the fact that we don't know if this was an isolated incident against this poor woman or if the killer will strike again, I have changed how I go about my day.

"I double lock my door, park my car next to the elevator and check who's around when I get out of my car. Speaking to my neighbours, it has got a lot of people frightened in JBR, many people are in shock." * Additional reporting by Rasha Abu Baker and Hani Bathish @Email:garis@thenational.ae @Emailnsamaha@thenational.ae