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Egypt: Senior judge accused of murdering journalist wife

Body found of broadcaster Shaima Gamal, who was reportedly strangled to death after argument with husband
Egyptian TV presenter Shaima Gamal's body was found after a witness came forward with information to the country's public prosecution (Screengrab/Facebook)

An Egyptian judicial official is accused of murdering his wife, TV presenter Shaima Gamal, who went missing three weeks ago, according to Egypt’s public prosecution. 

Gamal had last been seen 20 days ago in front of a shopping mall in the governorate of Giza with her husband. Her body has since been found after a witness came forward with information about her alleged murder.

“On 26 June, a person appeared in front of the general prosecutor, confirming his strong relationship with the husband of the victim, and he expressed his desire to testify that the husband was involved in the murder of his wife due to differences between them,” the public prosecution said in a statement late on Monday.

Gamal’s body was discovered after the witness, accompanied by a forensic doctor, guided authorities to its whereabouts.

The prosecution also confirmed that the suspect was a member of a judicial authority, and that it had ordered his arrest. 

Ibrahim Tantawi, the lawyer of the witness, told Masrawy that the suspect is a senior judge with the rank of councillor, and that his client was present at the farm where the alleged murder took place. 

Tantawi said that Gamal was the suspect’s "secret" second wife for more than eight years, and had threatened to make his first wife aware of their marriage following a heated exchange. 

After a back and forth of insults and an altercation, the lawyer said, the husband struck Gamal three times on the head with a gun and strangled her with the scarf she was wearing, causing her suffocation and death. 

Tantawi’s client allegedly witnessed the crime, and was threatened with the same weapon and briefly held captive by the judicial official.

He managed to escape, and went to the police shortly after, according to his lawyer. The witness admitted his involvement in the crime, and has since been detained by Egyptian authorities pending an investigation. The judge, however, is still at large.

Gamal's husband had initially filed a missing person's report on 20 June, alleging that his wife entered a hairdresser and did not exit. The public prosecutor said the new information cast doubt on the "authenticity of his report". 

The details about Gamal’s murder come just days after a 21-year-old Egyptian student was stabbed to death outside a university in the northern city of Mansoura. 

Nayera Ashraf was beaten and stabbed in broad daylight in front of shocked onlookers by a fellow student whose marriage proposal she had rejected, according to local reports. 

A suspect was detained the following day and confessed to the killing, and a trial began on Sunday.