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Hamza retrial underway


LEADING EGYPTIAN geotechnical engineer Mamdouh Hamza went on trial at the Old Bailey for the second time last week, charged with attempting to hire an assassin to kill three Egyptian government ministers.

Hamza was tried under the same charge last year, but the jury failed to agree on a verdict and a retrial was called (NCE 8 December 2005) He is pleading not guilty to charges of soliciting to murder three government ministers. He is alleged to have attempted to pay an undercover policeman, posing as a hit man, to carry out the murders.

Prosecutors allege that Hamza wanted revenge against housing minister Mohammed Suleiman because he stopped Hamza's consultancy Hamza Associates from winning housing ministry contracts.

The second trial is taking place using recorded evidence from the first trial. Witnesses are not being recalled. The prosecution case ended last week and defence started on Monday.

The trial is due for completion on 27 June.

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