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Egypt’s top prosecutor to request extradition of plane hijacker from Cyprus

Earlier on Wednesday, a Cypriot court granted a police a request to detain Mustafa for eight days as he is considered a flight risk

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Wednesday 30 Mar 2016
Seif El-Din Mustafa
Handcuffed Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, an Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane the previous day and forced it to divert to Cyprus demanding to see his ex-wife, leaves the court in Larnaca escorted by Cypriot police on March 30, 2016.(Photo: AFP)
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Egypt’s prosecutor-general Nabil Sadek decided on Wednesday to submit a formal request to the Cypriot authorities for the extradition of the EgyptAir flight 181 hijacker for prosecution at home.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cypriot police prosecutor Andreas Lambrianou said Egyptian national Seif El-Din Mustafa, 59, faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

A Cypriot court granted a police request to detain Mustafa for the maximum eight-day detention period over fears that he might flee and the fact that he admitted to the hijacking in a voluntary statement to police.

Mustafa is accused of hijacking on Tuesday an Egyptian domestic airliner en route from Alexandria to Cairo, brandishing what appeared to be an explosives belt before forcing the pilot to divert the flight to Cyprus.

No passengers were injured in the incident and Cypriot police later said the belt was a fake.

The Egyptian prosecutor’s extradition request cited an Egyptian-Cypriot 1996 agreement of extradition of criminals between the two countries along with other international treaties.

Cypriot officials described Mustafa as "psychologically unstable" following a bizarre set of demands he made to police negotiators, including what Lambrianou said was a letter he wanted delivered to his Cypriot ex-wife in which he demanded the release of 63 dissident women imprisoned in Egypt.

According to Cyprus Mail, the court heard that after Mustafa was arrested on Tuesday, he explained to officers that “when someone hasn’t seen his family for 24 years and wants to see his wife and children and the Egyptian government does not allow him to, what should he do?”

His estranged wife is reportedly embarrassed by the fuss and does not want to see him.

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