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Hat Tip To Egypt For Moustafa Trial – More Than Murder At Stake – UPDATED

November 15, 2008

Egyptian tycoon guilty of murder

Moustafa, left, was accused of paying a security guard to murder Tamim at her home in Dubai [AFP]

An Egyptian businessman has been sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Suzanne Tamim, a Lebanese singer.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a politician and former chairman of the Talaat Moustafa Group, was found guilty on Thursday of paying a security guard $2m to kill Tamim at her apartment in the emirate of Dubai in July.

Muhsen el-Sukkari, the security guard, was also convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging.

The judge ordered the men’s sentences to be referred to Egypt’s grand mufti for confirmation. The men have the right to appeal.

Tycoon, ex-cop go on trial in pop star’s death

  • Egyptian mogul and ex-police officer charged in Lebanese singer’s killing
  • Her body was found in apartment in United Arab Emirates; trial being held in Cairo
  • Prosecutors allege ex-officer was paid $2 million to kill singer Suzanne Tamim
    Prosecutors allege that real estate mogul Hisham Talaat Moustafa, also a parliament member for the ruling National Democratic Party, paid former police officer Muhsen el Sukkari $2 million to kill Tamim. Both have denied the charges.The judge listed and displayed evidence found by police at the crime scene in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: a T-shirt, a pocket-size knife, blood and a pair of pants. Moustafa and el Sukkari claim that the evidence could have been fabricated or tampered with by UAE authorities and should not be used.

    The trial is expected to last six to seven months.

    Moustafa’s lawyer has told CNN that his client loved the singer but could not take Tamim as a second wife because his family objected. Polygamy is legal in Egypt, and it not unusual for men — such as Moustafa, a married father of three — to take additional wives.

    Prosecutors have said Tamim’s death was a “means of taking revenge” but have not elaborated.

    Although Tamim was killed in the United Arab Emirates, the Egyptian judiciary is trying the case in Cairo because Egyptian law does not allow its citizens to be extradited for trials in other countries.

    The case, with its high-profile victim and defendant, has captivated Egypt and the region.

    After his arrest in September, Egyptian authorities indicted Moustafa, stripped him of his parliamentary immunity and jailed him pending trial. He also resigned as chairman of Talaat Moustafa Group, a conglomerate with construction and real estate arms that was founded by his father, Talaat Moustafa. Moustafa’s brother, Tarek Talaat Moustafa, now heads up the company.

    Ah, the wonder of it all!  I am very inpressed, any time money and power must bow down to law.  The rights of the privileged and wealthy are extraordinary in America, let alone in other countries.  Moustafa appears to have failed to buy his judges or failed to arrange a viable scapegoat.  If Egypt succeeds in bringing justice to Suzanne Tamin, whose brutal murder has world attention, respect for this nation of laws will be phenominal.  As this story continues to unfold, there is close scrutiny to the details upon which law triumphed, this time.  The world has seen enough injustice, arrogance and unanswered crimes to be weary and skeptical.

    Construction mogul’s trial kicks off with pleas of innocence

    14:38 Lebanon Files: Gamal Mubarak, son of president Mubarak was called in to testify in the case of the murder of Suzanne Tamim. Hisham Mustafa Talaat, an Egyptian billionaire is the primary suspect in the murder

    Conviction of NDP Official In Singer Murder Will Mean A Scandal for Egypt’s Parliament, Says MP

    “If NDP official Hisham Talaat Mostafa is convicted in the case of murdering the Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim, who was killed at her home in Dubai last July, then this will be a scandal and a shame on the Egyptian Parliament and the ruling regime,” MP Saber Abu Al-Fotouh told Ikhwanweb Tuesday. Yet, he added, he is confident that Egypt’s judiciary will rule justly in the case.

    Abu Al-Fotouh condemned the involvement of many leaders and symbols of the ruling party in corruption cases recently, and warned against the danger of merging power with money.

    “The marriage between power and money is one of the most dangerous means of corrupting political life and leading society to a real collapse. Money holders often abuse power for their own interests, not for the interests of the state and the people,” he added.

    The Attorney General has referred Hisham Talaat Mostafa, head of the board of Talaat Mostafa Group, to trial as a second defendant along with the former police officer Mohsen Al-Soukary whom the Attorney-General said had traveled to
    Dubai to kill Tamim instigated by Mostafa, and that he followed her to London as well.

    Opposition smoulders as Egypt’s ruling party touts its successes

    Hosni Mubarak, 80, who heads the NDP, has been in power since Oct 1981. He won a fifth six-year term as president in 2005.

    Recent scandals involving businessmen close to both Gamal Mubarak and the NDP have led to widespread accusations of corruption and cronyism within the party, an issue the president’s son addressed in his speech.

    “The NDP is not spoiling businessmen and is not hiding any corruption. They say we are pampering the private sector… I say nobody is above the law,” he said, clearly referring to the trial of Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an Egyptian tycoon who is accused of paying someone to murder Suzan Tamim, a Lebanese singer, in Dubai in July.

    The scandal has tarnished Gamal Mubarak’s image, with one analyst calling it the “final nail in the coffin” of his attempt to win acceptance in Egypt.

    “The scandal has reinforced negative perceptions of the president’s son and his inner circle of unsavoury business associates,” said John R Bradley, author of Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution, in an opinion piece before the convention.

    Mubarak junior defends Egypt’s private sector

    CAIRO, Egypt: Gamal Mubarak, the son and expected successor of Egypt’s president, made a vigorous defense of the ruling party’s close partnership with the private sector amid tough economic times and a raft of scandals involving high profile businessmen.

    Over the summer, one of Mubarak’s close associates and a prominent party member, Hisham Talaat Moustafa, was charged with hiring a killer to slit the throat of a Lebanese pop singer with whom he had been romantically involved.

    “They say we are pampering the private sector… I say nobody is above the law,” Gamal Mubarak said.

    Mounting scandals

    Embarrassingly for the NDP, one of its most senior figures has become embroiled in a high-profile murder trial.

    Construction magnate and NDP policy committee member Hisham Talaat Moustafa has denied financing the killing of Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim.  Ms Tamim, said to be his former lover, was found with her throat cut in Dubai three months ago.

    “If such things happened in a respectable country, the head of the party would be forced to resign,” said Mr Rabie. “But in Egypt, there are no resignations, no accountability, no change.”

    He said the conference pledges were “only an attempt to portray the NDP as a unified, functioning party with fresh ideas. But given the mounting scandals and poor prospects for real change, the people aren’t buying it this time”.

    The NDP’s secretary-general has come out fighting. Safwat El-Sherif said: “Our party does not allow corrupt people to fill its ranks. We respect the rule of law. The NDP is not a place for wrongdoers to enjoy immunity.”

    The party’s critics, he said, “suffer from political blindness and moral delinquency”.

    Moustafa is not convicted yet and surprises may still be waiting in the wings.  But, just the fact that he could not avoid the trial, buy a new identity and disappear from view, is very important.  Egypt is judging one of it’s own.  A leader in business and politics that has represented the face of their country in many board rooms, parties and political events, Moustafa’s high profile brings shame and dishonor to all he represented.  Egypt has an opportunity to save face.  Egypt can show a skeptical world that virtue and justice can prevail and set the standard for civilization. Egypt has the opportunity to live up to it’s proud history.  We all are children of history, but many of us do not understand enough of it to know if we are living up or down from the past.  Civilized nations demonstrate evolution of the law and the heart together.  Clueless nations measure themselves by the amount of toys they can gather before they die.

    Achieving a balance between law and materialism is very difficult.  Egypt has a daunting task ahead.  Accountability must be enforced to help that balance.  Enforcing the consequences for serious violations of human rights causes respect for law.  But, if the materialistic privileged continue to get away with crimes, there will never be respect for the law, only fear of more injustice.

    This trial will be an interesting diversion from the tragedy of today’s global economic crisis.  This trial also demonstrates what we can expect for the credibility of our own future.

    cross posted on American Street
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    1. Hat Tip To Egypt For Moustafa Trial - More Than Murder At Stake

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