YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The World

Two go on trial in slaying of pop star

October 19, 2008|From the Associated Press

CAIRO, EGYPT — An Egyptian tycoon and an associate sat side-by-side Saturday in a metal cage in a packed Cairo courtroom and denied charges that they orchestrated the killing of a Lebanese pop star known for her striking green eyes.

Billionaire lawmaker Hisham Talaat Moustafa and Mohsen Sukkari were surrounded by plainclothes officers as they sat separated by a partition in the cage to prevent scuffles, since each is expected to blame the other for the killing of Suzanne Tamim.

The case has mesmerized millions across the Middle East. Moustafa is a close friend of Gamal Mubarak, son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and is part of a powerful group long known as "the untouchables" because they were seen as above the law in Egypt's hierarchical society.

But a month after the killing, Moustafa was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and arrested on charges that he ordered the killing of Tamim, who friends say left Cairo to end her relationship with the married tycoon.

Tamim was found stabbed to death in July in her apartment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Moustafa is accused of ordering the killing, and Sukkari, a former state security officer who worked at a Four Seasons hotel owned by Moustafa, is charged with carrying it out.

Both men asserted their innocence Saturday.

"I didn't kill Suzanne. I didn't do it," Sukkari said from behind the bars.

Moustafa also denied the charges. "I ask for God's protection for he is my best advocate," he said.

The judge adjourned the trial until Nov. 15.

Los Angeles Times Articles