Cairo: A Cairo court on Thursday sentenced an Egyptian tycoon and a former policeman to death for the murder in Dubai last year of Lebanese pop star Suzan Tamim.
The judge ordered businessman Hesham Talaat Mustafa and retired policeman Mohseen Al Sukkari hanged for the brutal slaying of the singer in a luxury Dubai apartment in July, 2008.
Mustafa's two daughters burst into tears after the ruling and his sister fainted.
The verdict follows 27 hearing sessions in the trial of Mustafa, one of Egypt's top real-estate developers, accused of ordering the killing of Tamim.
Al Sukkari claimed that Mustafa had instigated him to kill Tamim, with which Mustafa allegedly had an affair, in return for $2 million. Mustafa has denied the accusation.
Millions inside and outside Egypt eagerly awaited the verdict, not only because of the big names involved in the case, but also because the ruling will send a message to corrupt businessmen, said Hamdi Mahrous, a human rights activist.
In recent years, several Egyptian businessmen have been found engaged in illegal practices, based on their huge wealth and political connections.
Their behaviour has harmed the image of the Egyptian regime and disappointed their compatriots, many of whom live below the poverty line, Mahrous told Gulf News.
Since the start of the trial last October, the court cross-examined 15 witnesses from the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon, including a pathologist from Dubai, who carried out a post-mortem examination on Tamim's body.
The court also checked evidence including transcriptions of telephone calls between Mustafa and Al Sukkar.
With input from agencies