An Egyptian billionaire and former top political figure has been sentenced to death in Cairo for the 2008 murder of Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim.
Hisham Talaat Moustafa was found guilty of paying $2m to an ex-policeman to kill the singer. The killer Muhsin Sukkari was also sentenced to hang.
Ms Tamim reportedly broke off a secret love affair with Moustafa months before she was stabbed to death in Dubai.
The tale of sex, politics, money and show business gripped the Arab world.
Reports described “chaos” in the courtroom after the judge read out a short statement and ordered the sentences referred to the religious authorities for confirmation – as is normal in
Sukkari’s face went pale and family members burst into tears as the sentence was delivered, news agency AFP said.
The indictment had accused the security guard who worked at a hotel owned by Moustafa of
Telephone conversations between Sukkari and Moustafa also formed part of the prosecution’s case.
The indictment had accused Moustafa, former head of the Talaat Moustafa Group property empire, of participating in the murder through “incitement, agreement and assistance”.
As well as serving in the upper house of the Egyptian parliament, Hisham Talaat Moustafa is known to have been close to President Hosni Mubarak’s politically powerful son Gamal and he sat on the ruling National Democratic Party’s policy committee.
Members of are often viewed in the country as being above the law, and there was massive public interest in the case.
The Dubai authorities applied such pressure on the Egyptians to bring the case to trial that he was eventually stripped of his parliamentary immunity.
But in Egypt after the opening statements – a ruling which brought sharp criticism from the opposition.
Suzanne Tamim had risen to stardom throughout the Middle East as the winner of a pop idol contest in Lebanon in 1996.
But her career was marred by reports of a troubled private life.
SOURCED FROM BBC