Ex-wife in Cyprus denies EgyptAir hijacker's activist claim

2016-06-18 07:20
Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa leaves the court in Larnaca in a police car. (George Michael, AFP)

Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa leaves the court in Larnaca in a police car. (George Michael, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nicosia - The Cypriot ex-wife of an Egyptian who hijacked a plane to Cyprus and is fighting extradition, on Friday denied his claims of being a political activist and portrayed him as a common criminal.

Marina Paraschou was called to testify in a Nicosia court by the state as it seeks to have Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, 58, extradited to Egypt, which has requested he face trial under a bilateral agreement.

State counsel is trying to discredit claims by the defence that as a known political activist Mostafa would not receive a fair trial in Cairo for the hijacking in March.

Paraschou said Mostafa had never belonged to any opposition group in Egypt or been convicted for his political beliefs, despite spells behind bars in different Arab states.

"He was jailed in Egypt for being an army deserter and was convicted for passport forgery... and stealing a car," Paraschou told the court.

During the two-hour hearing, which was adjourned until June 22, Mostafa locked his gaze on his ex-wife with a wry smile while she avoided any eye contact.

Mostafa had deserted the Egyptian army in the 1980s to join the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Beirut, she said, before moving in 1983 to Cyprus where the couple met and had four children.

According to Paraschou, he had never taken part in any anti-regime protests in Egypt or faced harassment by Egyptian authorities for being a political activist, Paraskou said.

The couple were together from 1983 to 1992, before Paraschou left her husband and divorced him in 1994.

Fake suicide belt

Mostafa spent all but one of their nine years as a couple behind bars, serving jail stints in Egypt, Yemen and Syria, she said.

The 58-year-old Egyptian man is accused of using a fake suicide belt to seize the plane flying from Alexandria in northern Egypt to Cairo and divert it to the Mediterranean island on March 29.

According to police, Mostafa voluntarily admitted to the hijacking that ended peacefully with his arrest and the release unharmed of the 55 passengers after a six-hour stand-off.

His lawyer Robertos Vrahimi has argued that the hijacker's motive was to draw attention to injustices in his homeland.

Mostafa is fighting his extradition, arguing he could be tortured or face the death penalty if sent back to Egypt.

His request for asylum has been refused as Cypriot authorities deem him a "perpetrator of serious crimes".

The Cypriot justice ministry says Egypt has given assurances of a fair trial.

Read more on:    egyptair  |  egypt  |  cyprus  |  air travel

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.