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When Government Controls The Press, Murderers Walk – UPDATE

September 3, 2008

Update: Lawmaker accused over decapitated pop star

  • Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim found decapitated in Dubai apartment in July
  • Hisham Talaat, a lawmaker from Egyptian ruling party, accused of ordering her death
  • Egyptian chief prosecutor alleges former police officer paid to carry out killing
  • Egyptian media: Talaat romantically linked to Tamim; prosecutor offers no motive

Hisham Talaat Mustafa is officially arrested for Tamim’s murder

Egyptian tycoon charged in Lebanese singer’s death

Hisham Talaat Moustafa referred to criminal court, TMG shares plunge 15.97 percent

Egypt’s TMG jumps on bargain hunting, boosting indexes

Shares surge in company of Tamim murder suspect

“People are taking the opportunity after the sharp drop in the company’s shares,” says Hashem Ghoneim, chief executive of El Nour Securities. “It’s an asset-based company with land and buildings. What can go wrong if the chairman goes?”

We will see how this plays out.  Money talks and political buddies have could have special privileges … The world is watching closely now.  Egypt is expected to do the right thing.  If there is a trial, OJ Simpson may loose top billing as the trial of the century.

************* Previously ****************

Egypt Bans News of Beheaded Pop Star

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt has banned news coverage of the brutal slaying of a Lebanese pop star following media reports in other regional papers that say a wealthy Egyptian businessman ordered three men to carry out the killing.

The singer, 31-year-old Suzanne Tamim, was found stabbed and decapitated last month in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.

Her killing has been a top story in other Arab media but Egypt’s chief prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud imposed a ban Friday on coverage without explanation.

On Tuesday, the editor of an Egyptian independent newspaper was questioned by prosecutors for violating the ban with a Sunday edition story on Tamim’s death.
Authorities barred distribution of the edition but the article remained on the paper’s Web site.

The front-page Al-Dustour article quoted unidentified sources as saying a former Egyptian police officer and two hotel security men from Cairo had confessed to killing Tamim in Dubai on behalf of a wealthy Egyptian businessman. The businessman was not identified.

Some copies of the edition appeared on the stands late Saturday before distribution was halted. Other newspapers and media outside Egypt have reported the same allegations about the confessions, but Al-Dustour was the first outlet within Egypt to attempt to do so.

Al-Dustour executive editor Ibrahim Mansour said prosecutors questioned him on suspicion of violating the ban and ordered two journalists from the paper to report to authorities for questioning on Wednesday.

“This is pure intimidation of the press, the public is entitled to know,” Mansour told The Associated Press.

Other Egyptian papers reported on the ban and complained that that the government was trying to prevent the implication of any prominent figures. Businessmen have taken an increasingly large role in the government and ruling party over the last 10 years.

“They (businessmen) are becoming immune. The regime helps them get out of disasters and whitewashes them,” wrote columnist Hamdi Rizq in the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

Hotel Tycoon Linked to Murder of Beheaded Pop Star

Lebanon Seeks Interpol Help on Suzanne Tamim’s Murder

Tamim has reportedly had differences with her husband Adel Maatouk. Maatouk, in a statement, said that he wanted his wife to stop singing and devote her time to the family after their marriage. Maatouk said his wife left Lebanon against his wishes and that the singer’s parents had told her not to listen to him.In 2004, Lebanon’s Prosecutor-General Adnan Addoum asked Egyptian authorities to extradite Tamim to answer a charge by her husband that she had stolen $270,000 from him.

* Suzanne Tamim reported death in Dubai Marina. A police spokesman said she was found murdered late Monday night in an apartment in Dubai Marina area. He declined to give further details saying that police were investigating the incident.

Tamim is believed to have been living secretly in Dubai after fleeing both Egypt and her native Lebanon. During her troubled life, Tamim had been celebrated both for her looks and a versatile voice that was well suited to perform both classical and modern Arab pop music.

Briton questioned over Lebanese singer’s killing

As the mystery behind Tamim’s murder deepened, intriguing details continued to emerge about her private life.

Although at the time of her death she was still officially married to Adel Maatouk, her former Lebanese producer, an Iraqi kick-boxing champion living in the UK called Riyadh al Azzawi, held a press conference last weekend claiming he was also married to her and had lived with her in London for 18 months.

His brother Mohammed told The National that Mr Azzawi was distraught at the news of Tamim’s death. He also confirmed his brother was still in London and had not attended the funeral, adding: “He is being comforted by friends and has already held a private service for Suzan in London on Friday.”

Tamim was never far from controversy throughout her career. A graduate of the prestigious Studio Al Phan, an academy that nurtures aspiring singers in Lebanon, she signed a record deal in 1996.

However, her private life rapidly began to overshadow her singing career. Mr Maatouk, who was estranged from her at the time of her death, accused her of stealing Dh1.28 million ($350,000) and she was arrested by Interpol in Egypt in 2005.

Months later she faced allegations of being involved in a heroin smuggling ring with her father. In a separate incident she was accused of a plot to kill Mr Maatouk after gunmen opened fire on his car in a Beirut suburb. He escaped the shooting unharmed.

This story appears out of character for TruthHugger. The point of using a sensational story that includes sex, politics, intrigue and deception is to illustrate the consequences of a restrained and coerced press. Suppression of media freedom allows heinous acts to go unpunished … but offers blackmail advantages to the suppressors. The public is not served and justice is lost when this behavior goes unchecked. Fear of truth ruins hope for the future of countries that participate in cover ups and coercion. Would you willingly elect a leader or representative you know in advance will deceive you? Deception feeds itself and becomes an obese monster because fear will protect it and allow it to have its way, regardles who it smashes.

Thanks to the World Wide Web, this story was not “successfully” squashed. Freedom of the internet is a crucial tool to keep tyrants on their toes … This is what the freedom of the web movement has been all about. This is everyone’s lesson why we must keep the web free … This drama in Dubai should be a TV movie soon.

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2 Comments
  1. September 4, 2008 9:06 pm

    Hey Wil, didn’t you know that Bush/Cheney have been slinking around progressive blogs, so they can point their troll bots at the sites they want to spam? They are sneakier about sabotage than other countries that suppress the press. At least those countries make it clear what you “can’t do”. One of Washington’s spam bots hangs on my site all the time … looking for key words and phrases, I guess. Let me know where you want me to snoop and I’ll try to help you out, if they don’t catch me.
    Thanks for dropping by, you’ve been missed. Don’t be a stranger.

  2. September 4, 2008 8:49 pm

    You make a great point about restriction on the press…

    But this story isn’t being told in Dubai, either.

    I’m sure your blog has been blocked by a country-wide imposed firewall, as has anything else that reports “bad” news coming out of Dubai/UAE. Their “news” on TV is government run, and is one story after another about how the ‘honorable Sheikh President King…’ did one thing or another. There wasn’t one bit of real news.

    I couldn’t even use Skype in the Internet cafes – it was blocked.

    As I surfed the net trying to find a way to contact te outside world, I realized that anything that connected Emirates to the outside world was off limits – Skype, Google News, anything with “blogspot.com” in it, etc.

    Kind of like how NBC, CNN, ABC, FOX, etc. all ignored the raids on groups planning to protest the republican convention (which you so nicely provided facts on – thank you). At what point do the firewalls start going up in America?

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