The man (C) who was arrested after he hijacked an EgyptAir flight, which was forced to land in Cyprus on Tuesday, is transferred by Cypriot police as they leave a court in the city of Larnaca, Cyprus March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou The man (C) who was arrested after he hijacked an EgyptAir flight, which was forced to land in Cyprus on Tuesday, is transferred by Cypriot police as they leave a court in the city of Larnaca, Cyprus March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Interrogations with EgyptAir Hijacker in Cairo uncovered

Tue, Aug. 21, 2018
CAIRO - 21 August 2018: The culprit in a two-year plane hijack case of an EgyptAir flight was arrested by the Egyptian authorities this week.

Prosecution interrogated the defendant for 15 hours, where he attempted to change his plea and claim he occasionally suffers from mental disorders.

Seif El Din Mostafa admitted that he committed the crime in a bid to meet his Greek wife and two children, who he has not seen in 20 years. However, he affirmed that the explosive belt was a fake and that he was able to go through all security checks in Borg Al Arab airport without any suspicion.

Shortly after the take-off, Mostafa got up and claimed he was wearing an explosive belt, asking the flight attendant to speak to the pilot and requesting that the plane heads to either Greece or Turkey. The attendant came back from the cockpit saying that the fuel is sufficient for only landing in Cyprus, Mostafa said.

In the end, the defendant denied any political incentives behind the hijack and asserted solely personal reasons.


The prosecution ordered his detention for 15 days and referred the case to the Public Prosecutor. The case against him includes kidnapping, terrorizing citizens, violence threats, transferring hostages to unknown destinations, and using explosives to threaten citizens.


The Egyptian authorities received Mostafa on Saturday, after his arrival to Cairo under tight security measures where he was deported to El-Khalifa police station.
The hijacking ended peacefully with his arrest and the release of the 55 passengers after a six-hour standoff.

Earlier in the day, Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadeq ordered referring the fugitive to prosecution to interrogate him after his extradition from Cyprus.

Previously, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) forbid the Cypriot authorities from extraditing the Egyptian man until the time came to examine the case, according to the Associated Press.

The Cypriot Justice Ministry said in a statement that it has issued instructions for the suspension of extradition procedures until the ECHR issues its ruling, the AP added.
A five-judge Cypriot panel upheld a lower court ruling, which refused the hijacker’s defense that he may be tortured by Egyptian authorities or be subject to an unfair trial upon his return.

Egypt requested that Mostafa faces trial under a bilateral agreement as the two countries signed the 1996 extradition treaty.

A maritime demarcation agreement was signed by Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus in 2015. In the same year, gas explorations by the Italian company Eni unveiled the largest gas field in the Mediterranean in Egyptian waters, Zohr.


Additional reporting by Asmaa Ali Badr
 
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