Middle East

Egypt tycoon jailed in Suzanne Tamim murder retrial

Suzanne Tamim, file image
Suzanne Tamim became famous after an Arabic TV talent contest

An Egyptian tycoon has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for ordering the murder of popular Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim, after a retrial.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a senior member of Egypt's ruling party, was sentenced to death after his initial trial - but judges quashed his conviction on a technicality and ordered a new trial.

His co-defendant Mohsen al-Sukkari was given life in jail for killing Tamim.

She was found with her throat slit in a Dubai hotel in July 2008.

Analysts say the lighter sentence for Moustafa is likely to fuel public perceptions that the elite are above the law in Egypt.

The court heard how Moustafa, an MP for the ruling National Democratic Party, ordered the killing after Tamim had spurned his marriage proposal.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa is part of an elite often considered untouchable in Egypt

He is believed to have paid Sukkari $2m (£1.3m) to kill Tamim at one of the hotels owned by his property firm.

Observers said the judge's ruling came as a surprise, as court papers suggested there were more witnesses to appear.

Sukkari's lawyer told Reuters news agency he would appeal against the verdict.

Moustafa, who is already married, is believed to have started an affair with Tamim after she asked him for help in divorcing her husband.

But according to court papers, she had moved to London before her death and was living with a kick-boxer.

She became a celebrity as the winner of an Arabic TV talent show in the late 1990s.

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