CAIRO: Egyptian national Seif el Din Mostafa, who was accused of hijacking EgyptAir passenger jet late March, has formally requested political asylum from Cypriot authorities in the face of his pending extradition to Egypt, Cyprus News Agency reported Tuesday.
“The request is currently considered by the immigration department,” said Elena Kourtellaridou, the Cypriot justice ministry spokesperson told the agency.
Mostafa’s application comes after Cypriot authorities last week initially agreed to extradite him to Egypt for trial. Kourtellaridou added that a court hearing on the extradition is set for April 22.
According to the Egyptian Penal Code, Mostafa can be sentenced to death if found guilty of hijacking the passenger jet. However, Egyptian media reports said the authorities have committed not to apply capital punishment.
Mostafa, 58, forced the 55-passenger plane that was en route from Alexandria to Cairo to change its direction to Cyprus by claiming that he was wearing a belt rigged with explosives.
However, after releasing all passengers and the crew, it was revealed that the belt contained no dangerous material.
After arrest, he has was investigated by Cypriot authorities and the Larnaca District Court approved a prosecution request to extend his detention for 8 days pending investigation.
A source at the Egyptian Attorney General office told Youm7 on March 30 that the Cypriot judicial authorities will extradite Mostafa “after preliminary investigations are over.”