Europe

Lawyer: Cyprus rejects suspected hijacker's asylum claim

  • EgyptAir plane hijack suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he arrives in a court in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, May 13, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    EgyptAir plane hijack suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he arrives in a court in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, May 13, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • EgyptAir plane hijack suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, right, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he arrives in a court in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, May 13, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    EgyptAir plane hijack suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, right, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he arrives in a court in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, May 13, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

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.