Cyprus court orders Egyptian hijack suspect held for 8 days

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

LARNACA, Cyprus — A Cypriot court on Wednesday ordered an Egyptian man to be detained for eight days after authorities said he admitted hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverting it to the Mediterranean island by threatening to blow it up with a fake explosives belt.

Cyprus police prosecutor Andreas Lambrianou said the suspect, whom authorities had identified as 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, faces preliminary charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence. The allegation regarding explosives could be dropped if the liquid found with Mustafa is not explosive material.

Judge Maria Loizou said she found the police request for the maximum eight-day detention necessary because of fears the suspect might flee and the fact that he admitted to the hijacking in a voluntary statement to police.

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Egypt’s General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek, meanwhile, has officially asked Cyprus to extradite Mustafa in order to start an investigation, his office said.

Tuesday’s hijacking, which started when authorities said Mustafa claimed to have explosives and forced a flight from Alexandria to Cairo to land in Cyprus, ended peacefully about six hours later.