Mubarak pledges Tamim justice

The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak promises that two Egyptians charged in the killing of Suzan Tamim will face justice.

A recent undated picture shows Egyptian tycoon Hisham Talaat Mustafa. Mustafa was arrested and charged on September 2, 2008 with paying two million dollars for the brutal killing and beheading of Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai in July 2008. AFP PHOTO/STR *** Local Caption ***  215427-01-08.jpg
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DUBAI // The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has promised that two Egyptians charged in the killing of the Lebanese singer Suzan Tamim will face justice in his country, though they will not stand trial in the UAE. Hisham Talaat Moustafa, former chairman of Egypt's largest publicly traded real estate company and a member of the country's upper house of parliament, has been charged with contracting the killing. Mohsen al Sokari, a former police officer, has been charged with the murder itself.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai police chief, said yesterday that Dubai did not plan to seek extradition of the men. There is no extradition treaty between the two countries. "There is no difference between the UAE and Egypt; we are one nation," Lt Gen Tamim said. "We have full trust in the Egyptian judicial system and we are sure that the case will be dealt with credibly." He said the Egyptian authorities dealing with the case had shown credibility, honesty, openness, and transparency.

Lt Gen Tamim said President Mubarak "told us that no one is above the law". "This is something that we heard and felt from all the officials in Egypt. The fact that the two men will stand trial slams much of what was said in the media that the perpetrators might not face justice under the Egyptian system," he said. Lt Gen Tamim also said that during a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the sheikh indicated that he considered the Egyptian judiciary system to be parallel to the UAE's.

Tamim was found dead in her Dubai flat on June 28. Sokari allegedly had been hired by Moustafa as a hit man and paid US$2 million (Dh7.34m). Police believe Sokari used a knife that he purchased in Dubai to cut Tamim's throat. He was arrested by Egyptian police three days after the killing at a hotel in Cairo on the request of Dubai police. Sokari had flown from Dubai to Egypt within two hours of the killing.

A statement issued by the Egyptian attorney general on Tuesday said investigations in Egypt confirmed that Sokari had received the money from Moustafa. The Egyptian newspaper, Al Masry Al Youm, reported that it had obtained recordings of five phone calls between Moustafa and Sokari in the months before the murder. In one call, Moustafa is said to be assuring Sokari that he had finalised all that was necessary for his mission, revealing that the initial plan was to carry out the murder in London, where Tamim lived for 18 months before moving to Dubai just days before she was murdered.

During the call, Moustafa could be heard telling Sokari: "Everything is ready and the amount agreed on is ready. The flight is tomorrow, she is in London. You figure it out, you are a security man, come on, you know what to do," the newspaper reported. In another conversation, the newspaper said, Sokari told Moustafa that he did not get a chance to "do it" in London and that he would kill Tamim in Dubai. Moustafa replied: "It will be difficult there, though."

But Sokari assured him: "Don't worry boss, this is mine," Al Masry Al Youm reported. Police in Dubai did not say what they thought Moustafa's motive was. Although at the time of her death Tamim was still married to Adel Maatouk, her former Lebanese producer, an Iraqi kick-boxing champion living in the UK called Riyadh al Azzawi said after the killing that he was also married to the singer and had lived with her in London for 18 months.

Tamim's lawyer, Clara al Rumaily, has said that Moustafa was in love with the singer and had planned to marry her. "He was also close to her family and helped them a lot," she said. A source close to the investigation in Egypt said yesterday that two chief prosecutors were going to Beirut to take statements from Tamim's father and other family members.