Reda Hilal: Disappeared journalist's case reopened nine years later

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Jul 2012

Renowned journalist Reda Hilal's disappearance nine years ago is reopened as a murder case following a complaint filed accusing former Interior Minister El-Adly, Mubarak's chief of staff, and the former First Lady

Reda Hilal (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The office of Egypt’s prosecutor-general has started looking into a case presented by the brother of deceased journalist Reda Hilal that alleges he was murdered. The case accuses former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly, Hosni Mubarak’s chief of staff Zakaria Azmy and former first lady Suzanne Mubarak of taking part in the crime.

Lawyer Assem Qandil is presenting Sayyid Hilal’s case, claiming that the motive of the killing was Reda's vocal refusal that Gamal Mubarak take over the Egyptian presidency on the bequeath of his father, deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Another suspected reason, his brother noted, was his outspoken criticism of human rights abuses carried out by the Egyptian Interior Ministry under Mubarak’s rule. 

Sayyid Hilal stated he presented an official complaint on 14 August 2003 following the disappearance of his brother. Investigators, however, did not follow through on the case, despite evidence presented, including phone records.

Qandil noted that the three accused were partners to the crime of the disappearance Hilal. He also accused them of interfering in the general prosecutor's activities, leading to the shelving of the complaint.

Hilal was a high-profile Al-Ahram journalist, columnist and deputy chief editor. 

His disappearance remains a mystery until today. Some suggested he was in possession of sensitive documents that revealed unfavourable information about high-level officials.  

Others alleged he met with Gamal Mubarak, or was having an affair with a former cabinet minister’s wife.

El-Adly is currently facing a life sentence in connection to the killing of protesters during the 25 January Revolution. He faces an additional sentence of 15 years for corruption and money laundering.

Azmy, for his part, was sentenced to seven years in jail on corruption charges in April. He was also fined LE36.5 million ($6.05m) after being found guilty of making illicit profits of some LE44 million.

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