CAIRO (Reuters) – The Sunday edition of the independent Egyptian newspaper al-Dustour, which contained a story about the murder of a Lebanese singer in Dubai, disappeared from the market on Saturday, officials said.
“After it was printed and copies were loaded on a train heading to southern Egypt on Saturday night, orders were issued to prevent distribution,” said an official at the distribution company. He said he did not know the reason.
Al-Dustour Executive Editor Ibrahim Mansour said: “We have not received an official notice that the newspaper has been confiscated. The newspaper was pulled out of the market last night. We do not know who did this.”
The main story on the newspaper’s website (www.dostor.org.ar) has the headline: “Is a major Egyptian personality involved in the murder of the Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim?”
It quotes unidentified sources as saying a former Egyptian police officer and two hotel security men from Cairo had confessed to killing Tamim in Dubai in July on behalf of an Egyptian client. One of the security men said they received $2 million for the job, it added.
An unidentified official, quoted by the state-run Middle East News Agency, said the newspaper was not confiscated.
“But the public prosecutor is investigating the paper’s violation of a news blackout on a case currently before the public prosecutor,” the official was quoted as saying. Mansour said the newspaper was not aware of any such investigation.
The Egyptian authorities have rarely confiscated newspapers in recent years but many editors and journalists have been charged with offences after publication.
The editor of al-Dustour, Ibrahim Issa, was sentenced to six months in jail in March on a charge of publishing false news about Mubarak. He is free on bail while a higher court hears his appeal.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said he had no information about the confiscation.
Tamim, who was 30, rose to fame after wining the top prize in a television show in 1996. She was found dead in an apartment in Dubai Marina on July 28.