The criminal court of Giza, near Cairo, sentenced to death Ayman Hagag and an accomplice for “voluntary manslaughter” in June on the person of Shaima Gamal, a television presenter.
The preliminary sentences handed to Ayman Haggag and accomplice Hussein El Gharably, now hinge on the opinion of the grand mufti, who is always consulted over the death penalty. However, the religious opinion of the mufti is non-binding.
Haggag and his friend El Gharably were found guilty of ‘murder with intent’ after killing TV presenter Shaimaa Gamal whose body was found buried in the garden of a remote villa on the outskirts of the capital, Cairo in June.
According to Egyptian law, the death penalty will be submitted to the purely advisory opinion of the mufti of the Republic before being confirmed or reversed in a final verdict expected on the 11th of September, 2022.
At the end of June, Ayman Hagag, a judge at the Council of State, reported the disappearance of his 42-year-old wife, Shaima Gamal.
At the beginning of July, the prosecutor’s office announced the indictment of the husband as well as another man, an “accomplice” who gave himself up to the authorities to testify about his involvement in the murder and who helped identify the place where the victim was buried.
The Gamal case came to light when El Gharably confessed that he took part in the murder in exchange for money and led investigators to the victim’s burial site.
Haggag, a member of Egypt’s State Council, had reported his wife missing more than two weeks earlier. At that time, he said he had dropped her off in front of a mall in the affluent Sheikh Zayed district of Cairo and that she did not show up when they were supposed to meet afterwards.
However, El Gharably told prosecutors that Haggag plotted to kill his wife after she blackmailed him by demanding money in exchange for not revealing “secrets”, the prosecutors said.
The intricacies surrounding the gruesome murder have resurfaced at a time when the country’s prosecutor’s office announced that it had detained a student for the murder of a female classmate who refused his advances, two months after a similar killing caused outrage in the country.
At the end of July, a court had asked to broadcast live the execution of the murderer of a student who was stabbed to death in front of her university in June to “deter as many people as possible”. The country is amongst a few in the region where death penalty is actively upheld in order to eradicate heinous crimes.
Egyptian women say they are regularly exposed to violence and harmed by the law in a country where rigorist Islam has been gaining ground since the 1970s.
According to authorities, nearly eight million women had experienced violence in 2015 from a spouse, relative or stranger in the public space. Patriarchal legislation and conservative interpretations of Islam in Egypt have been blamed as the prime causes of severe limitation of women’s rights and creating a culture of violence against women in the country.