Egypt requests access to Cypriot hijack investigation, signs MoU on cross-border crime

Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadeq has requested access to the Cypriot investigation into the hijacking of an Egyptian plane to Laranca airport in Cyprus by the end of March 2016, according to judicial sources.

Sadeq made the request on Thursday as he signed a memorandum of judicial cooperation in the field of cross-border crime with his Cypriot counterpart.

Sadeq requested a copy of intvestigators' interviews with the defendant, Saifuddin Mostafa, 59, who took over the domestic flight from Burj al-Arab airport in Alexandria to Laranca. He hijacked the plane with 72 passengers and crew on board after claiming that he was wearig an explosive belt, which later turned out to be fake.

Sadeq also requested the extradition of the defendant, who holds Egyptian nationality, within the framework of the recently signed memorandum, the sources added. Shortly after the hijacking incident, Cyprus agreed to extradite Mostafa, who was being held by Cypriot police.

The defendant hijacked the plane on May 29 and surrendered few hours later. All hostages were released unharmed after several hours of negotiations.

After he was arrested, Cypriot authorities described him as "mentally unstable".

Police said the suicide vest he was wearing turned out to be fake, consisting of a thick white belt with pockets holding containers and wires protruding.

At the time, officials had stated that Mostafa was not a terrorist, but was demanding to see his ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus. Toward the end of the drama, the ex-wife arrived at the airport, apparently to help resolve the situation.

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