Briton questioned over Lebanese singer's killing

Dubai police question a Briton in connection with Suzan Tamim's murder, British embassy officials say.
Relatives of murdered Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim carry her coffin during her funeral in Beirut on Aug 4.
Relatives of murdered Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim carry her coffin during her funeral in Beirut on Aug 4.

DUBAI // A Briton was being questioned by police last night in connection with the murder of Suzan Tamim, the Lebanese singer found dead in her Dubai apartment, according to officials at the British embassy. The man was being held in police custody following his arrest earlier this week. However, it is understood that police are looking at more than one suspect and that one of the main lines of questioning for the man in custody is the whereabouts of a suspected accomplice in the killing.

A spokesman for the British consulate in Dubai said: "We can confirm that a British national is helping police with their inquiries with regards to the Suzan Tamim investigation. We are offering him full consular assistance." The spokesman also confirmed that a consular official had visited the man. It was not known where he was being held. Dubai police have refused to comment on any arrests or lines of inquiry but say the case is heading in a positive direction.

The murder investigation was launched after Tamim, 31, was found with her throat cut in her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment nine days ago. She was buried in her home town of Beirut on Monday after her body was finally released and flown out of Dubai. 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.

@Email:nsamaha@thenational.ae @Email:rabubaker@thenational.ae

Published: August 5, 2008 04:00 AM

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