Egypt says plane hijacker extradited from Cyprus

EgyptAir plane hijacker

EgyptAir plane hijacker

Egypt's chief prosecutor says Cyprus has extradited the hijacker of an EgyptAir plane that was diverted to the Mediterranean island in 2016.

"A security mission from the Egyptian INTERPOL Police Department traveled to the Cypriot capital of Nicosia and received the suspect to extradite him to Cairo", the statement read.

Mustafa hijacked the EgyptAir flight in March 2016 using a fake suicide belt and diverted it to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Nicolaou said the extradition went ahead after Mustafa dropped a three-year court battle to avoid extradition.

The 61-year-old had previously challenged extradition on the grounds that he could face torture or an unfair trial in Egypt.

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Most of the 55 passengers were quickly released after the plane landed, but some escaped only minutes before the six-hour standoff finished.

Mustafa told a Cypriot court that he didn't mean to harm anyone and was trying to help secure the release of 63 female dissidents being held in Egyptian prisons and expose what he called the "fascist regime" of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

Cypriot officials described Mustafa as "psychologically unstable" following a freaky set of demands he made to police negotiators, including what Lambrianou said was a letter he wanted delivered to his Cypriot ex-wife in which he demanded the release of 63 dissident women imprisoned in Egypt.

But Egyptian prosecutors had urged Cyprus to hand Mr Mustafa over under a 1996 bilateral extradition treaty.

Mostafa fought his extradition on the grounds he would not receive a fair trial in Egypt, but the Cypriot supreme court dismissed his appeal against being sent home a year ago. It added that Egyptian authorities gave assurances that Mustafa would "face legal proceedings commensurate with worldwide standards".

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