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Hijacker who forced plane to land in Cyprus to face charges in Egypt

Egyptian Seif Eldin Mustafa

A man who hijacked a plane and diverted it to Cyprus in 2016 will go on trial in Egypt facing a number of charges, judges decided on Wednesday.

Egypt’s public prosecutor said the case has been referred to the country’s criminal court, the Daily Mail reported.

A date for the trial has not yet been announced.

Seif Eldin Mustafa, 61, commandeered a domestic Alexandria-Cairo flight with 72 passengers and crew on board in March 2016, ordering it to land at Larnaca airport.

Mustafa had taken charge of the early morning flight by showing flight attendants what appeared to be a belt stuffed with plastic wires and a remote control. After the plane landed in Larnaca, he asked for the release of female prisoners in Egypt, and for his Cypriot ex-wife to come to the airport.

He surrendered to Cypriot authorities about six hours after he landed, having gradually released all passengers and crew unharmed.

From the first moment of his arrest, Egypt filed a request for his extradition, following all legal procedures and in consultation with the Attorney-general.

The Egyptian fought the extradition requests in the Cyprus courts arguing he would not receive a fair trial in Egypt.

The Cyprus Supreme court decided to extradite him after authorities were assured Mustafa would face legal procedures that comply with international standards and he was extradited in August this year from Cyprus.

Accusations against Mustafa 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.

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