Although Seif Eldin Mustafa, 59, the Egyptian man who hijacked an Egyptair flight on Tuesday and diverted it to Cyprus was portrayed in part as a lovelorn ex, his former wife has told a different story to some Greek Cypriot media outlets.
During his court appearance on Wednesday, where he was remanded for eight days, Mustafa said the reason he took such drastic action was that he needed to see his family, from whom he has been estranged for more than two decades.
“When someone hasn’t seen his family for 24 years and wants to see his wife and children and the Egyptian government does not allow him to, what should he do?” he told police.
But according to his former wife Marina Paraschou, who spoke to Politis and Phileleftheros, Mustafa merely used her name as a pretext to come to Cyprus to ask for asylum, and that he was far from a loving and caring husband and father.
Paraschou and Mustafa married in 1985 in Oroklini when she was 20. The marriage lasted five years during which time they had a son and three daughters, one of whom died in 2002 at age 17 in a road accident. Mustafa did not attend the funeral, Paraschou said. She said that when she called to him, he responded: “And what do I care? I don’t mind that she died”.
In 1988 Mustafa was convicted on six counts of forging passports and given a suspended sentence. He was later deported to Egypt but re-entered Cyprus on an assumed Qatari identity, caught, and again deported in 1990.
During their marriage, according to Politis, the family was facing several problems because Mustafa was not working and was “indifferent” to his children’s needs, and they often had no food on the table. According to the report, Paraschou, who later remarried and had another son, raised her small children with the help of her parents. Her children now have their own families.
According to Paraschou, quoted by Politis, her ex-husband is “an unstable person with many problems”, and “dangerous” as he has connections with shady characters, maybe even in Cyprus she said.
She was bewildered that Mustafa said he wanted to see them, as for more than two decades he didn’t show any interest. She said her children had a difficult childhood due to their father, who had run-ins with police, in Cyprus and Egypt.
She also expressed fears for her and her children’s lives as she believes that he was capable of escaping from prison.
When she was called in by the police while the hijack was underway, Paraschou said, she was asked to identify his voice but she did not speak to him, nor does she want to see him.
“This incident has upset our lives yet again, Paraschou said. She added that neither she nor her children wanted any contact with Mustafa.
“What we are asking of him as a family, Paraschou said, is to respect our peace of mind and the life we built. He only offered pain, misery and terror. And even now when he’s in police custody, my children and I are afraid.”