Tamim trial resumes tomorrow

The retrial of two Egyptian men convicted of killing the Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai continues on Saturday at Cairo Criminal Court after a three month hiatus.

CAIRO // The trial of the two Egyptian men convicted of killing the Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai resumes tomorrow at Cairo Criminal Court after a three month hiatus triggered by a national lawyers strike. The court is expected to hear closing arguments from the prosecution and defence throughout the week, before adjourning for the verdict. Hesham Talaat Moustafa, 50, the billionaire tycoon and a senior member of Egypt's ruling party, is accused of inciting, assisting and paying Mohsen el Sokari, 41, a former state security officer, US$2 million (Dh7.3m) to murder Ms Tamim, his estranged lover, almost two years ago. Both men were sentenced to death by hanging last year after being convicted of murdering Ms Tamim in her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment in July 2008. However after an appeal, the men were granted a retrial, which began in April. After 10 sessions, the trial was adjourned till June 29, but delayed until tomorrow when defence lawyers joined a strike by the Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate in response to the imprisonment of two lawyers in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, for assaulting the local public prosecutor. Trials also tend to break for the summer in July and August. Judge Adel Abdel Salam Gomaa is presiding over a new three-judge panel that includes judges Mohammed Hammad and Osama Gamea. Several prominent lawyers have joined Mr Moustafa's original two-lawyer's legal team since the Cassation Court granted the defendants an appeal in March. Mr el Sokari kept his two original lawyers since the first trial, which opened on October 18, 2008. The defence are expected to try to cast doubts on evidence submitted by Dubai police and Egyptian prosecution. In an unexpected twist in the case in May, Ms Tamim's family dropped charges against Mr Moustafa, choosing to retain them against Mr el Sokari. Abdel Sattar Tamim, Ms Tamim's father, denied that he changed his testimony because he was offered money. According to lawyers, the move could spare Mr Moustafa from the death penalty, if found guilty. nmagd@thenational.ae