Europe

Cyprus works to extradite EgyptAir hijacking suspect to Egypt

Cyprus court orders EgyptAir hijack suspect to remain in detention

 

An Egyptian request to extradite a man who authorities say admitted to hijacking an EgyptAir flight with a fake suicide belt has been approved and legal procedures are underway, Cyprus' attorney general said Thursday.

Petros Clerides told The Associated Press that 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa is objecting to extradition and has hired a lawyer.

Clerides said a Cypriot court will weigh Mustafa's arguments against his extradition during a hearing scheduled for April 22.

Mustafa, described by Cypriot authorities as "psychologically unstable," is accused of forcing a flight from Alexandria to Cairo to land in Cyprus last week after claiming to be strapped with explosives.

The hijacking ended peacefully after six hours with Mustafa's arrest when he stepped off the aircraft and tried to flee, police said. Most of the 72 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A320 had been released shortly after the plane landed at Cyprus' main Larnaca airport, although a few were kept until just before the hijacking was over.

A Cyprus court last week ordered the eight-day detention of Mustafa, who faced preliminary charges including hijacking, kidnapping and threats to commit violence. Mustafa did not ask to be represented by an attorney at that hearing, police said.

Clerides said Mustafa won't be tried in Cyprus and was freed Thursday, but he was re-arrested on the strength of a warrant issued as part of extradition proceedings.