NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cypriot authorities have rejected an application for political asylum by the Egyptian man who admitted hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverting it to Cyprus last March.
The man's lawyer, Robertos Brahimis, said Cyprus' Asylum Service deemed 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa's asylum claim inadmissible because he had "perpetrated a serious crime" by hijacking the Airbus A320 with 72 passengers and crew aboard with a fake suicide belt.
Brahimis said Friday he's appealing the decision.
The lawyer said the decision was mistaken because a claimant has to be granted refugee status before any crime can be weighed against him or her.
Brahimis said Mustafa fears he'll be "tortured or killed" by Egyptian authorities if a Cypriot court grants an Egyptian request for his extradition.