CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court will examine the case evidence of the Suzan Tamim murder trial Tuesday after the retrial of the defendants Mohsen Al-Sukkari and Hisham Talaat Moustafa began Monday.
The court intends to examine the evidence pertaining to the case in a session closed to the press and relatives of the defendants, where only the defense teams and prosecution may be present. The trial will then resume Wednesday in a regular session at the court in the Fifth District, New Cairo.
The retrial had begun Monday in a session that lasted under half an hour, presided by Judge Adel Abdel-Salam Gomaa. Both Al-Sukkari and Moustafa again pleaded not guilty to the murder of Lebanese singer Tamim in Dubai July 28, 2008.
Al-Sukkari is accused of carrying out the murder — a brutal killing in which Tamim was stabbed several times and had her throat slit — at the behest of Moustafa, who was romantically linked with the singer in the past. Al-Sukkari was allegedly paid $2 million to carry out the murder.
Police authorities in Dubai identified Al-Sukkari who was arrested an hour and a half after landing in Cairo on the same day of the murder. He was identified using footage from the building’s security cameras and a change of clothes caked with blood was discovered outside the building.
In Monday’s session, the defense team requested the reexamination by experts of the surveillance footage in which Al-Sukkari was identified.
The defendants had already been found guilty and handed the death sentence in the initial trial, but the Cairo Cassation Court had overturned the death verdict and ordered a retrial in March, due to legal errors in the first trial.
If found guilty this time around, the defendants may once again file an appeal at the Cassation Court to rule on the verdict itself, but not the entire case. If overturned, then there will be a third retrial of the case.
Speaking in March to Al-Hayat television, Chief of the Dubai Police Dahi Khalfan said there was no doubt that Al-Sukkari — a former State Security officer — had committed the murder of Tamim.
“The DNA [results] are clear and unambiguous; Al-Sukkari committed the crime,” he said.
Moustafa, the billionaire former chairman of the construction giant Talaat Moustafa Group was arrested Sept. 2, 2008 after parliamentary immunity was lifted from him. He was also a member of the policies secretariat of the National Democratic Party. After his arrest, the chairmanship of the group was transferred to his brother Tarek.
The first trial began Oct. 2008 and the Giza Criminal Court found both Moustafa and Al-Sukkari guilty of the murder and sentenced them to death by hanging in May 2009.