Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Incarcerated Egyptian billionaire, Hisham Talat Mustafa has been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and wants to be treated outside of prison.
Hisham Mustafa Talat’s appeal against his murder conviction will take place in two months time. Hisham Talat, a former Egyptian Member of Parliament, is one of two defendants sentenced to death by hanging for their part in the death of his former lover, Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim.
When one of Hisham Talat Mustafa’s lawyers visited him in prison ten days ago he described the Egyptian businessman as being in good health, however this is contrary to what legal sources close to the Mustafa family said after visiting Mustafa in Torah prison two days ago. The sources revealed that the Egyptian businessman is thinking of making a request to the Egyptian Interior Ministry in order to receive medical treatment outside of prison, or in a hospital equipped to provide the required treatment affiliated to the Egyptian prison service, as his health problems cannot be adequately treated whilst he is in custody.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, these sources revealed that Hisham Talat Mustafa is “trying to overcome the medical problems that arose recently, such as his irregular heartbeat, and particularly his bouts of high blood pressure. He hopes to be treated outside of prison…but he has postponed making an official request…we believe he is sensitive about what is published about him in the press, and he fears that this request will harm him and his [legal] case.”
As for the timeframe for Hisham Talat Mustafa making this request, the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat “we confirm that he might make such a request, but he does not want to take steps that may give rise to [negative] talk about him.” The source also confirmed that Hisham Talat Mustafa has lost a lot of weight, the reason for which is the strict diet that he is following for health reasons.
Asked whether he engages in any physical activity in prison, the legal sources close to the Mustafa family said, “He sometimes goes for walks inside prison…but in general his movement is limited…and he has a regimented diet, due to his health problems. For example, he likes yoghurt and toast, and lettuce, and he takes his medicine regularly.”
The sources also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Hisham Talat Mustafa has his own cell in the Torah prison where “dressed in the red death-row uniform, he spends his time reading…he reads the appeal filed for his case, as well as the review of some of his operations, particularly with regards to a number of his companies…he also reads a variety of religious and literary books.”
Dr. Shawki al-Sayed, a member of Hisham Talat Mustafa’s defense team said that three things comfort his client in prison, and they are “trust, patience, and faith.”
The legal sources also told Asharq Al-Awsat that the appeal against the verdict given to Hisham Talat Mustafa “will collect details of all the legal aspects of the first case…and will look at the gaps in this case, and in the defense, and in the breach of the defendant’s rights, and in the error in the application of law, and in the corruption of the [legal] reasoning.”
The sources also spoke about rumors that Egyptian MPs will file a bill next month in which blood money can be paid in murder cases, in which case the murderer’s sentence is reduced from the death penalty to seven years in prison, but they said that “Hisham [Talat Mustafa] himself does not favor this solution.”
They added, “The rumors that Hisham [Talat Mustafa] is prepared to pay 700 million Egyptian Pounds (125 million dollars) to the family of Suzanne Tamim, in exchange for them dropping the case against him, are unfounded. We are in contact with Hisham, and discuss with him what is happening…and he feels that the issue of paying blood money is out of the question…he remains fully confident of his innocence.”