The former wife of 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, who hijacked an EgyptAir plane with 72 passengers on board Tuesday and forced it to land in Cyprus, said in an interview to a Cypriot newspaper Thursday that he is an “extremely dangerous man.”
Marina Paraschou was married to Mustafa for five years until 1990, and had four children with him. She said her former husband used drugs, beat her and terrorized the family. The 51-year-old also denied media reports that said Mustafa hijacked Flight MS181 for the sake of love.
In the interview published in Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros, Paraschou said that Mustafa had never asked to speak to her during the standoff at Cyprus airport, the Associated Press (AP) reported. She said that police officials only asked her to identify his voice.
Paraschou also said that Mustafa was a "fanatical" supporter of Palestine Liberation Organization and bragged about his participation in killing three Israeli soldiers. She added that he was jailed in Syria for three years.
“Most of the media painted a picture of a romantic situation in which a man was trying to reach out to his estranged wife,” Paraschou said in the interview, according to Daily Mail. “It was a marriage of hell with threats, beatings, torture and fear. He was a man who knew how to inflict fear and to create misery around him. He was unbalanced and a scary person.”
Mustafa was unemployed and the couple lived with Paraschou’s parents in Cyprus after marriage, Daily Mail reported citing Paraschou’s interview. She said that he would beat her as well as their children and her parents if he was not given money to buy drugs. After five years of marriage, Mustafa reportedly moved back to Egypt.
Paraschou also recalled the moment when she called to tell him that one of their children had died in an accident. “I called him [to tell him of out child's death] and all he could say was ‘What do I care?’” Paraschou said in the interview, according to Daily Mail. “I can assure you, he never cared about me or his children — both when he was in Cyprus and after he left. The only thing he gave was pain, unhappiness and fear.”
After his surrender Tuesday, Mustafa was produced in a court in Larnaca, Cyprus, Wednesday and ordered eight days of detention. He faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence. Authorities have so far said that the Egyptian man was mentally unstable. Throughout the hearing, Mustafa did not speak but kept flashing a victory sign.
During the hijack, Mustafa insisted that the plane be taken to Greece, Turkey or Cyprus. It was landed in Larnaca after the pilots warned of low fuel. He let go of most passengers during the six-hour standoff between him and the negotiators, except for a few crew members and four foreign passengers. However, continued talks eventually led to the release of all hostages, moments before he surrendered. While disembarking the plane, Mustafa threw some items on the ground, which the police officials are now examining.