A court in Cyprus Wednesday ordered eight days of detention for an Egyptian man who was arrested on suspicion of hijacking an EgyptAir plane with a fake suicide belt. Seif Eddin Mustafa faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing police prosecutor Andreas Lambrianou.
Mustafa, 59, surrendered Tuesday after hijacking the domestic Alexandria-Cairo flight, which was carrying 72 people, and diverting it to Larnaca city on the south coast of Cyprus. Authorities said the suspect was mentally unstable.
Mustafa, who was produced at a court in Larnaca, was given an eight-day detention order over concerns that he would flee and the fact that he confessed to hijacking in a voluntary statement to police, Judge Maria Loizou said at the hearing, according to the AP.
Throughout the hearing, Mustafa did not speak, but flashed a victory sign as he left in a police car following the hearing.
Authorities said that Mustafa’s motives to hijack the EgyptAir Flight MS181 were personal and related to his Cypriot ex-wife. During the hijack, Mustafa told police negotiators to deliver a letter to his ex-wife demanding the release of 63 dissident women imprisoned in Egypt, Lambrianou said, according to the AP. Lambrianou added that Mustafa insisted that the plane be taken to airports in either Greece, Turkey or Cyprus ultimately landing in Larnaca after the pilots warned of low fuel.
The hijacking resulted in a six-hour standoff at the airport and prompted authorities to close the main entry point for tourists to the Mediterranean resort island. All hostages were released unharmed after Mustafa reportedly gave up the hijack.