UK

Nezar Hindawi loses parole bid

Undated file photo of Jordanian Nezar Hindawi
Image caption Hindawi planted a bomb in his pregnant fiancee's hand luggage without her knowledge

A man jailed for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner has lost a High Court battle for parole.

Lawyers for Jordanian Nezar Hindawi, 57, said he no longer posed a threat and it was safe to release him on licence.

But Mr Justice Blake said a Parole Board decision to reject his bid had been "rational and lawful".

Hindawi planted a bomb in his pregnant fiancee's hand luggage on a flight from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv in 1986.

The device could have killed 375 people had security staff not found it.

Hindawi has served 26 years in prison.

In 2009, the Parole Board board had concluded that he should be freed, saying he had shown remorse and was "very unlikely" to re-offend.

But then-Justice Secretary Jack Straw, and his successor Ken Clarke, sought to block Hindawi's release, arguing he had not rejected terrorism.

In April 2011, the High Court ruled that the ministers' decision had been "flawed" because it was based on official papers that did not present a "balanced" case. The case went back to the Parole Board to reconsider.

And in December last year, a three-member Parole Board panel, headed by a judge, ruled it was not yet safe for Hindawi to be let out.

On Monday, despite expressing concerns about the case, Mr Justice Blake said that was the correct decision.

Hindawi will be automatically freed in May 2016, at the two-thirds point of his sentence, and will be deported to Jordan.

Hindawi was from a wealthy Palestinian family who had become refugees in Jordan when their land was expropriated by Israel, according to court documents. He was born in Jordan, and his village was burned in the Six Day War of 1967, when he was 12.

He joined the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), became a writer and travelled to London.

He was jailed for hiding Semtex explosives in the luggage of his pregnant fiancee, Irishwoman Anne-Marie Murphy, then 32, without her knowledge.

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