Sunday, November 16, 2008

AFP - Egypt court orders media blackout on singer murder trial

CAIRO, Nov 16, 2008 (AFP) - A media blackout was imposed on Sunday on the trial of an Egyptian tycoon accused of ordering the brutal slaying of the Lebanese pop singer who jilted him.

Mohammadi Qunsua, presiding in the Cairo court, decided to "forbid media to publish (any item) related to the trial or to report details of the hearings", according to a court official who asked not to be named.

Media can only report court decisions such as adjournment of hearings or the verdict, she said.

Hisham Talaat, a stalwart of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, allegedly paid retired policeman Mohsen al-Sukkari two million dollars to kill Suzanne Tamim, 30, whose throat was cut in a luxury Dubai apartment in July.

Mustafa denies conspiracy to murder and the former policemen has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

The case, with its mix of wealth, show business, sex and politics and in which the two men could face the death penalty, has gripped Egypt where powerful businessmen are rarely seen to face justice.

Egyptian media said Tamim had a relationship with Mustafa over a three-year period that ended several months before her death.

The singer was found dead in the apartment on July 28 with her throat slit and several stab wounds in her body.

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