In a case that has captivated the Arab world, multimillionaire Egyptian businessman Hisham Talaat Moustafa was sentenced to death on Thursday for his role in the killing of a former lover, Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim.
Many had wondered if Moustafa would go free, thanks to his wealth and connections to President Hosni Mubarak’s family.
Blogger Will at “Notes from the Underground” disagrees with the verdict, arguing against the death penalty:
I’m against capital punishment, and even more so with fishy cases like that of the guy who killed Layla Ghoufran’s daughter and most recently Hisham Talaat Moustafa. The problem with such cases is that it’s obvious there is something wrong with them, something doesn’t add up and that presents what is referred to as reasonable doubt.
The fact that there is reasonable doubt is enough to set someone free, and perhaps I’m not even asking that, only asking that he not be put to death.
[…]The death of a businessman reflects an extremity that is so characteristic of our country. In Egypt so many bad deeds go unpunished and when the law is implemented, it can take an extreme of being implemented with too much viciousness according to the whim of those entrusted with its implementation. We’re extremists in our lethargy and in our viciousness. We turn a blind eye to many evils and when it comes to punishing, we kill even if there isn’t enough proof and we burry alive those poor pigs who have done us no harm.
But user “3abirsabeel” disagrees, responding in the comments:
It is good that finally one of Egypt’s corrupt businessmen will be punished instead of the usual way of buying their way out of trouble with big bucks and framing somebody else who didn’t have quite the right wasta or enough money to counter.
The “7starsdubai” blog writes that the verdict suggests that even the well-connected are not beyond the rule of law in Egypt:
When a crime is committed in the Middle East and nobody is punished, invariably the explanation is that the rich and powerful have proved once again that they are beyond the reach of the law.
For years the shady activities of Gulf sheikhs, powerful ministers and rich businessmen have been swept under the carpet. But something profound could be changing in the Arab world.
Thanks in part to the advance of technology, satellite news channels and internet blogs, the elite are no longer shielded from public scrutiny. Now they may also have to answer to the law.
Now we have the case in Egypt of Hisham Moustafa, a businessman and member of Cairo’s elite being sentenced to death for ordering the murder of Suzanne Tamim.
The actions could give renewed hope to others seeking justice in the region, like the family of Martine Vik Magnussen, the Norwegian student who was murdered in London last year. Police want to question Farouk Abdulhak, the son of an Arab billionaire, who left Britain soon after the murder in Mayfair and is now in Yemen.
A blogger at “Egyptian Chronicles” agrees, stating that the verdict has political and social significance in Egypt:
I expected this verdict somehow because of its political and social significance:
1) The Egyptian Government does not protect its men, the NDP men, the businessmen tycoon regardless of how big they are and how strong their connection with Mubarak’s family is.
2) There is no difference between a businessman tycoon, former state security officer and a poor man who are accused of murder, they will face the death penalty judgment.
3) There are three countries involved in the case besides Egypt : UAE , UK and Lebanon , already there were rumors in UAE last year that Egypt wanted to prosecute both men in the country in order to give an opportunity to Hisham to flee the punishment.