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Egyptian to face trial over hijacking plane diverted to Cyprus

By AFP - Dec 06,2018 - Last updated at Dec 06,2018

Egyptian Seif Al Din Mohamed Mostafa is escorted to an extradition hearing in Nicosia on May 13 , 2016 (AFP photo)

CAIRO — A man accused of hijacking a plane more than two years ago and diverting it to Cyprus will face trial on a string of charges, Egypt's public prosecutor said Wednesday.

Seif Al Din Mohamed Mostafa, who was extradited in August from Cyprus, is accused of forcing a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo to divert its route to the Mediterranean island in March 2016.

Egypt's public prosecutor announced on Wednesday the case has been referred to the country's criminal court, paving the way for a trial to begin at an unspecified date.

Accusations against Mostafa 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 in a statement.

Cypriot authorities handed over Mostafa to their Egyptian counterparts after a court ruling allowed his extradition.

While held in Cyprus, Mostafa fought his extradition on grounds he would not receive a fair trial in Egypt. The Cypriot supreme court, however, dismissed his appeal last year against being sent home.

His request for asylum was refused as Cypriot authorities deemed him a "perpetrator of serious crimes".

The 2016 hijacking took place a few months after the October 2015 downing of a Russian airliner by the Islamic State group, killing all 224 on board, an incident that dealt a severe blow to Egypt's lucrative tourism industry.

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