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Middle east

Cleric approves tycoon's execution for murder of Lebanese diva

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-25

An Egyptian tycoon and an ex-cop hitman condemned to death by hanging by a Cairo court for the murder of Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim have had their sentences approved by the country's top cleric.

AFP - A Cairo court on Thursday confirmed a death sentence against an Egyptian tycoon and an ex-cop hitman for the murder of a Lebanese pop star after the verdict was approved by the country's top cleric.

Judge Al-Mohammedi Qunsua confirmed sentences of death by hanging for Hisham Talaat Mustafa and retired policeman Mohsen al-Sukkari for respectively ordering and carrying out the killing of Suzanne Tamim in a luxury Dubai apartment in July 2008.

The court initially issued its verdict in May, but in line with Islamic law, the death sentence had to be approved by the country's mufti.

The defendants were escorted out of the courtroom after the judge's proclamation which was greeted calmly by their friends and relatives, an AFP correspondent said, in sharp contrast to scenes of screaming and fainting during the May court session.

Since his appointment as mufti in 2003, Sheikh Ali Gomaa has received 480 requests to review death sentences and only refused two of them.

Defendants can still appeal the decision, a justice official said.

Date created : 2009-06-25

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