Egypt court hands death sentence to husband in murder of TV presenter Shaimaa Gamal

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 11 Sep 2022

A Cairo criminal court handed a death sentence on Sunday to a judge for murdering his wife, TV presenter Shaimaa Gamal, and his co-defendant after the approval of Grand Mufti Shawki Allam.

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


Both the husband Ayman Haggag and the second defendant Hussein El-Gharably 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.

Sunday's ruling can be appealed within 60 days before the Court of Cassation.

In mid-August, the court referred of the case to the grand mufti to inquire about the religious ruling.

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.

Sheikh Shawky Allam is head of the Dar El-Ifta, which is Egypt’s official body responsible for issuing religious edicts for Sunni Muslims.

The crime initially came to light when the accomplice reported the murder to the prosecution and said that Haggag 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.

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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