An Egyptian appeals court has overturned the convictions of a ruling party member and a former policeman sentenced to death for the murder of a Lebanese pop star.
The court on Thursday ordered a retrial for Hisham Talaat Mustafa and Mohsen al-Sukkari, the ex-policeman, convicted in May for killing Suzanne Tamim.
Mustafa, a real estate mogul, was accused of paying Sukkari two million dollars to cut the throat of his one-time lover in July 2008, in a luxury Dubai apartment which she had bought months before the murder.
Mustafa, 49, was arrested in September and had his immunity lifted as member of the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament.
The case, with its mix of wealth, show business and politics has gripped Egypt, where powerful businessmen are rarely seen to face justice.
The decision to retry the case is certain to raise charges that Mustafa's influence will keep him from receiving justice.
Mustafa ran the Talaat Mustafa Group real estate conglomerate that is worth several billion dollars, and is said to have been close to president Hosni Mubarak's son and heir apparent, Gamal.
According to Dubai investigators, el-Sukkary stalked Tamim to her apartment in the Dubai Marina complex and entered using an ID of the management company from which she had recently bought her place.
Sukkari was arrested in August 2008 in Egypt after Dubai police found a footprint at the crime scene and traced the shoes that made it to a shop where he had used his credit card.
Tamim and Mustafa met in the summer of 2004 at a Red Sea resort, according to transcripts of Moustafa's interrogation that were widely published in Egyptian newspapers.
They reported that Tamim had a three-year relationship with Mustafa that ended several months before her death.
Tamim rose to stardom in the late 1990s, but hit troubled times leading to a separation from her Lebanese husband-manager, who filed a series of lawsuits against her, accusing her of threatening his life.