Talaat Moustafa speaks out for the first time during fourth hearing

Marwa Al-A’sar
3 Min Read

CAIRO: During the fourth hearing of the murder retrial of construction mogul Hesham Talaat Moustafa Saturday, a Pakistani engineer, whose company installed the surveillance cameras in Burj Al Rimal tower, where Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was killed, confirmed in his testimony in court that the time and date of the footage could not be tampered with.

In response, Moustafa spoke for the first time from the dock, saying that “video recordings of surveillance cameras … can be manipulated.”

Moustafa argued that similar cameras were used at his hotels in Egypt whose digital content was adjusted.

The court also called on the Public Prosecutor to summon the Dubai prosecutor who had conducted the investigation in the UAE.

The other defendant in the case, former police officer Mohsen Al-Sukkari, who is charged with committing the murder, did not attend the hearing.

The lawyers on both sides argued in court.

Reda Ghoneim, who represents Adel Ma’touk, Tamim’s ex-husband, called for a clarification on how Moustafa’s lawyer Farid El-Deeb, acquired colored photos taken from the surveillance cameras, when other lawyers, were with provided black and white pictures.

Ghoneim filed a complaint before the public prosecutor accusing El-Deeb of manipulating evidence.

In May 2009, both defendants had been found guilty and handed the death sentence in the initial trial.

However, the Cairo Cassation Court overturned the death verdict and ordered a retrial in March 2010 due to legal errors in the first trial.

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 involved with the singer.

Al-Sukkari was allegedly paid $2 million by Moustafa to commit the murder in July 2008 in Dubai.

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 crime. He was identified using footage from the building’s security cameras and a change of clothes caked with blood was discovered outside the building.

Moustafa, the billionaire former MP and chairman of the construction giant Talaat Moustafa Group, was arrested September 2008 after parliamentary immunity was lifted from him. He was also a member of the policies secretariat of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

After his arrest, the chairmanship of the group was transferred to his brother Tarek.

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