Talaat Moustafa, an Egyptian construction developer, and a former police
officer, is on trial for the murder of Suzanne Tamim, a Lebanese singer.
Moustafa pleaded not guilty to murder and incitment charges on Saturday
at the hearing in a Cairo court.
member of parliament for the ruling National Democratic Party, is
charged with paying Muhsen el-Sukkari, a security guard, $2 million for
stabbing Tamim to death at her apartment in Dubai on July 28.
The charge sheet said that Moustafa's motive was "revenge", but it did
not explain their relationship in detail.
response to the charges, Moustafa told the courtroom in central Cairo:
"It did not happen and I have presented all the evidence that I am not
"It did not happen," said Sukkari. "By Almighty God my blood is
innocent of her."
The two defendants appeared in metal cages in the courtroom.
The Egyptian judiciary is trying the case because Egyptian law does not
allow the extradition of Egyptian citizens to face trial in other
Al Jazeera's Amr El-Kahky, reporting from outside the courtroom, said
that there is intense interest in this case.
"Many Egyptians are very curious to see what the verdict for this case
will be, considering Moustafa's well-known ties to the higher echelons
of the Egyptian political establishment," he said.
"Moustafa is well connected to Gamal Mubarak, the president's son, so
there is obviously interest regarding the independence of the judiciary
in this case."
indictment says Sukkari killed Tamim after tricking her into opening the
door of her Dubai apartment by posing as a representative of the
Al Jazeera and agencies
"He then attacked her with the knife ... cutting her main arteries and
her trachea," it said.
"This was on the instigation of the second defendant [Moustafa] in
return for obtaining from him the sum of $2 million for committing this
Egyptian media reports have said that Sukkari worked as a security
officer at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh, which the Talaat Moustafa Group built.
The indictment said Moustafa "took part through incitement, agreement
and assistance with the first defendant [Sukkari] in killing the victim
"He provided him with special information and amounts of money necessary
to plan and carry out the crime," it said.
The evidence includes tape recordings of telephone calls between
Moustafa and Sukkari, security video footage from the Dubai apartment
and DNA from the bloodied clothes that Sukkari allegedly left close to
the scene of the crime.
Moustafa, who was born in 1959, has given up the chairmanship of the
Talaat Moustafa Group to Tarek, his brother, and has been stripped of
the legal immunity he enjoyed as a member of the upper house of
Tamim, who was 30, rose to fame after winning the top prize in a
television show in 1996.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies