The Egyptian president’s decision to pardon a former police officer who was convicted of killing a Lebanese singer has ignited outrage in the north African country.
Mohsen Al-Sukkari was convicted in 2008 of killing Suzanne Tamim in the Emirates on the orders of her lover, the business mogul Hisham Talaat Mostafa, who ordered that he follow her from Cairo to London and then onto Dubai where he tricked his way into her apartment and stabbed her to death.
It is reported that Hisham and Suzanne had an affair and that he paid to have her killed when she turned down his marriage proposal.
Four years later an appeal court upheld a life sentence against Mohsen and a 15-year sentence against Hisham, who allegedly paid $2 million for Mohsen to kill the pop singer.
Hisham was close to former President Mubarak’s son, Gamal, and was a senior member of the then ruling National Democratic Party.
At the time, the case was followed widely across the Arab world.
On Saturday, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that he was pardoning 3,157 prisoners for Eid. Al-Sukkari was on that list.
Hisham had already received a presidential pardon in Eid 2017 for health grounds.
This weekend’s decision sparked a wave of anger since there were no political prisoners on the list of detainees to be pardoned.
There are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, around 20,000 of whom are on pretrial detention.
Most of those included on the list had been convicted of murder, attempted murder, drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, corruption and fraud.
Rights organisations and governments across the world have called on Egypt to release prisoners to ease overcrowding amid the coronavirus pandemic.