Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Bomb plotter wins parole challenge

Nezar Hindawi was jailed in 1986 for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner

A man jailed for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner has won a High Court challenge against Government refusals to allow his early release.

Two senior judges ruled that Nezar Hindawi, who is serving what is believed to be the longest specific jail term imposed by an English court, was subjected to a "flawed and unfair" decision-making process.

The judges quashed decisions by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and his predecessor, Jack Straw, refusing to accept Parole Board recommendations that the Jordanian be released.

A further hearing will be held to decide whether the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, should now make a final ruling, or whether the Justice Secretary should be ordered to reconsider his decision.

Hindawi was sentenced in 1986 for attempting to destroy an El-Al plane flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

He hid Semtex explosive in the luggage of his pregnant fiancee without her knowledge, but the explosives were detected and the plot was foiled - avoiding a potential loss of 375 lives.

The case for rejecting parole was drafted principally by the official who had had day-to-day conduct of the case in front of a parole board hearing which the Government lost. The Secretary of State was therefore not put in a position where he could properly take the decision, said the judge.

"That is contrary to principles of justice that our law has always applied in cases however heinous a crime might be.

"A consequence of the unfair procedure was that the decision made by the Secretary of State was flawed, principally because it did not set out proper reasons for rejecting the finding that the claimant was a credible witness, which the Parole Board made after hearing his evidence.

"His decision must therefore be quashed."

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