Cairo Court issues preliminary death sentence to husband of murdered TV presenter Shaimaa Gamal

Ahram Online , Tuesday 16 Aug 2022

A Cairo criminal court referred on Tuesday the case of the judge accused of murdering his wife, TV presenter Shaimaa Gamal, and his alleged partner in crime to the grand mufti to inquire about the religious ruling.

Court of Justice
A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)

 

Referral to the grand mufti is a necessary procedure before issuing a death sentence, according to Egyptian law, though the religious opinion of the mufti is non-binding.

Tuesday's verdict is not final yet with the possibility of an appeal.

Both defendants were referred in July to the criminal court after the Egyptian public prosecution charged them with premeditated murder, which is punishable by the death penalty in Egypt.

The referral came two weeks after the crime initially came to light when the accomplice reported the murder to the prosecution and said that Ayman Haggag, a judge, killed Gamal over “disputes,” according to a statement by the prosecution in June.

Haggag had initially reported that his wife had gone missing from a commercial complex in 6 October City in Giza.

However, the second defendant led the prosecution to the victim’s burial site after reporting the crime.

The prosecution charged Haggag after hearing the testimonies of 10 people and the confessions of the two defendants, according to a statement released on 7 July.

Haggag plotted to kill Gamal after she blackmailed him by demanding money in exchange for not revealing “secrets”, the prosecution said in the statement, without elaborating on the nature of these secrets.

Haggag’s friend, Hussein El-Gharably, a company owner and the second defendant, has accepted charges as an accomplice in the murder, the prosecution said.

On the day of the crime, the husband lured Gamal to a remote farm in Giza, where he struck her with the butt of a pistol and strangled her to death with a piece of cloth as El-Gharably held her.

They then put Gamal's body in a makeshift grave and doused her body with a corrosive liquid to make her unrecognisable, according to the prosecution's findings.

Forensic examination confirmed that the cause of death was strangulation, the prosecution said, adding that the DNA of the defendants was found on the cloth used to murder the victim.

Investigations also revealed that the mobile phones of both the victim and the defendants were in proximity of the same cell tower near the aforementioned farm.

However, during the first hearing in the case on 20 July, Haggag claimed that he killed Gamal in self-defence after she attacked him with a knife.

But, the prosecution dismissed Haggag’s claims in its charging document, which was published by Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper after the hearing.

The prosecution said that no knife was found at the crime scene and that Haggag made no claims of self-defence during his confession.

The prosecution added that El-Gharably's statement contradicts Haggag’s self-defence claim.

In late July, the Cairo Court of Appeals issued a media gag order on the case.

Gamal was known for her programme El-Moshagheba (The Troublemaker) on LTC TV satellite channel. She also worked for Al-Hadath Al-Youm satellite channel.

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