Egyptian to face trial over hijacking plane diverted to Cyprus

Egyptian Seif Eldin Mustafa, who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane, is transferred by Cypriot police from the court back to the prison in Nicosia, Cyprus on May 13. (Reuters)
Updated 05 December 2018

Egyptian to face trial over hijacking plane diverted to Cyprus

CAIRO: A man accused of hijacking a plane more than two years ago and diverting it to Cyprus will face trial on a string of charges, Egypt's public prosecutor said Wednesday.
Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, who was extradited in August from Cyprus, is accused of forcing a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo to divert its route to the Mediterranean island in March 2016.
Egypt's public prosecutor announced on Wednesday the case has been referred to the country's criminal court, paving the way for a trial to begin at an unspecified date.
Accusations against Mostafa include deliberately disrupting a flight, seizing control of an aircraft through threats and intimidation and promoting the ideas of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, the prosecutor said in a statement.
Cypriot authorities handed over Mostafa to their Egyptian counterparts after a court ruling allowed his extradition.
While held in Cyprus, Mostafa fought his extradition on grounds he would not receive a fair trial in Egypt. The Cypriot supreme court however dismissed his appeal last year against being sent home.
His request for asylum was refused as Cypriot authorities deemed him a "perpetrator of serious crimes".
The 2016 hijacking took place a few months after the October 2015 downing of a Russian airliner by the Islamic State group, killing all 224 on board, an incident that dealt a severe blow to Egypt's lucrative tourism industry.


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 35 min 31 sec ago

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”