Two arabs accused of killing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's close friend, Mr Youssef Sibai, were on Thursday (2 March) sent for trial in the Cypriot High Court after a four-day preliminary hearing in Nicosia.
Two arabs accused of killing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's close friend, Mr Youssef Sibai, were on Thursday (2 March) sent for trial in the Cypriot High Court after a four-day preliminary hearing in Nicosia. The accused, Samir Mohammed Khadar, a 28-year-old Jordanian, and 26-year-old Zayed Hussein Al-Ali, who holds a Kuwait passport, have both been charged with pre-meditated murder. Mr Sibai, who was editor-in-chief of the semi-official newspaper, Al-Ahram, was killed on the 18th of February while attending an Afro-Asian solidarity conference in Nicosia. On Tuesday (28 February), the second day of the preliminary hearing, Khadar made a voluntary statement, in which he admitted that he and Ali had gone to Cyprus specifically to kill Mr Sibai.
SYNOPSIS: The preliminary hearing was held at the District Court in Nicosia. During the hearing, dozens of heavily-armed police were on duty at the court.
The Sibai family were represented by English Queen's Council, Michael Eastham. Khadar and Ali had Cypriot counsel, though originally they had asked for defence lawyers from the Libyan Jamahiriyah.
The charge of pre-meditated murder carries a mandatory death sentence in Cyprus, and only a presidential reprieve can revoke it.
Throughout the hearing, dozens of police kept the courtyard clear. The road by the court was closed, and cameramen were kept behind a barbed wire barricade.
Khadar and Ali have been committed to appear at the next session of the Nicosia Assize Court, which starts on May the eighth. The prosecution had applied for the pair to stand trail at the present session, but their counsel, Lefkos Clerides, demanded more time to prepare his defence.