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Egyptair hijacker seeks political asylum in Cyprus

File photo: Mustafa being taken to court in Larnaca

The Egyptian hijacker Seif Eldin Mustafa, 59 has formally requested political asylum in Cyprus, the justice ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Mustafa hit international headlines last month when he hijacked a domestic Egyptair flight with a fake suicide belt he threatened to detonate in a bid to force the pilot to divert to Turkey, Greece or Larnaca.

Upon arrival to Cyprus, he made several demands including delivering a letter to his Cypriot ex-wife, a meeting with an EU official, the release of female political prisoners in Egypt, and political asylum.

Although those demands were all made in the haze of the standoff, the political asylum request has now been formalised and submitted to Cypriot authorities.

According to the justice ministry spokeswoman Elena Kourtellaridou, it is currently being evaluated by the immigration department.

Mustafa applied for political asylum after Cyprus last week approved an extradition order to send him back to Egypt.

No assurances have been made from Egypt’s part as to what he might face in Egypt’s courts, Kourtallaridou added.

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