File Photo: Saif Al Din Mustafa, an Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane to Cyprus, arrives at the court in Larnaca on March 30, 2016, a day after the incident. (Photo: AFP)
Egypt's Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek has referred a man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane during a passenger flight in 2016 to court on charges of hijacking and promoting terrorism.
Seif El-Din Mostafa hijacked EgyptAir flight 181 on 29 March 2016 after it took off from Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab airport.
Mostafa — described by Cypriot authorities as "psychologically unstable" — forced the passenger jet to land in Cyprus' main Larnaca airport. He was arrested when he stepped off the plane; all on board were released unharmed.
Egyptian prosecutor have charged Mostafa with unlawfully seizing a means of air transportation by threatening and intimidating its passengers. He was also charged wtih purposely hijacking and imprisoning the passengers and the crew of the aircraft, and with promoting "the terrorist ideologies of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group calling for violence", according to Sadek’s office.
The aircraft was carrying 72 people, including a child, prosecutors say.
Through the confessions of the defendant taken by the Supreme State Security Prosecution it was shown that Mostafa threatened the aircraft pilot that he would detonate a fake explosive belt that he was wearing under his clothes if his demand to reroute to Cyprus were not met. He has also threatened the crew.
He also demanded the release of women imprisoned on terror charges.
The prosecution said that Mostafa intended to harm the country's tourism sector, weaken the reputation of the state, and cause economic damage to the country.
Mostafa was extradited from Cyprus to Egypt in August.
During investigations, Mostafa revealed that he has previously travelled to Sudan in 2015 to meet the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood group, to show his participation in the implementation of hostile acts inside the country.