Egypt mogul gets jail instead of death for pop star murder

Egyptian property mogul Hisham Talaat Moustafa was jailed for 15 years yesterday for the murder of a Lebanese pop star and ex-lover, 16 months after he was sentenced to death for the slaying.

“Hisham Talaat Moustafa was sentenced to 15 years in jail and (his associate Mohsen) al-Sukkari to 25 years for the murder of Suzanne Tamim,” state television said in a report.

A judicial source said Mr Sukkari was also sentenced to three extra years in jail for possession of an illegal weapon.

Lawyers for the pair said they were set to appeal yesterday’s verdict, which they insisted was unexpected.

Ms Tamim, who rose to fame in the Arab music industry after winning a popular talent show in 1996, was stabbed several times and her throat cut at a Dubai luxury apartment in July 2008. She was 30.

Mr Moustafa and Mr Sukkari had been sentenced in May 2009 to hang for the murder but, in March, an appeals court overturned the convictions on procedural grounds and ordered a retrial.

Mr Moustafa was an associate of President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, and sat on the ruling party’s policies committee.

At the first trial, he was accused of having paid Mr Sukkari, a retired ex-policeman, $2 million (€1.5 million) to kill the singer.

The death sentence shocked Egypt, particularly since it targeted a prominent businessman who was close to Gamal Mubarak, 46, who is widely seen as succeeding his father in polls due next year.

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