CAIRO (AFP) – Sunday’s edition of Egyptian daily Al-Dustur was seized after it alleged an “important Egyptian figure” was involved in the brutal death of a Lebanese pop singer, the paper’s editor said.
The seizure came amid reports that a man suspected of murdering Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai by stabbing her several times had been arrested in an Arab country.
“The newspaper has been withdrawn from the market. It is nowhere, be it in Cairo or the rest of Egypt’s governorates,” said Ibrahim Mansour, the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper.
“We have not been officially informed that the newspaper was seized but copies have been withdrawn from the market,” he told AFP.
But Mansour insisted that the sudden disappearance of the newspaper was linked to its front-page article on Sunday about Tamim’s death in her upmarket Dubai apartment last month.
Mansour said it was clear that the seizure was linked to the article, which was headlined: “Is an important Egyptian figure implicated in the murder of a Lebanese singer?”
The identity of the Egyptian figure was not specified by the daily, which said the person was “highly influential” and “close to power” and Egyptian business circles.
The article alleged that a former Egyptian police officer as well as two hotel security officials had confessed to killing the singer for an Egyptian client.
A judiciary source said Egypt’s prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud had referred Al-Dustur’s managing editor Ibrahim Eissa to public prosecutors for “breaking a ban on publishing” articles about the case.
The source told AFP that the prosecutor general had banned the media a week ago from reporting on the investigation into the singer’s death as it was still in progress.
Eissa has already had brushes with the judiciary in the past. He was sentenced to six months in jail in March for reporting rumours about the health of President Hosni Mubarak.
Tamim rose to fame after winning a Lebanese talent show in 1996 but her life had been marred by domestic disputes, including a rocky marriage with her second husband and agent who had accused her in 2004 of being behind an attempt on his life.
Dubai police meanwhile said Sunday that the suspect detained, who was not identified, was a 39-year-old Arab national “arrested in an Arab country three days after entering that country.”
The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television quoted a security official in Cairo as saying that the suspect was arrested in Egypt.
The Emirati daily Khaleej Times quoted a Dubai police official as saying the investigation focused on two suspects with Egyptian nationality who had left Dubai after the murder.
The pair had arrived in Dubai two days earlier, it said.