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Hijacker wins Home Office challenge

An Iraqi man arrested at Stansted Airport after taking part in the hijack of an airliner has won the latest round of a 16-year fight to stay in the UK.

Mustafa Abdul Hussain - one of the hijackers of a Sudan Airways Airbus which flew into Britain in August 1996 - successfully challenged the Home Office after ministers refused to grant him "indefinite leave to remain".

A judge said Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May should reconsider Mr Hussain's case, following a High Court hearing in London.

Deputy High Court Judge James Dingemans QC said the Home Office decision to refuse Mr Hussain "indefinite leave to remain" had been "flawed".

Judge Dingemans said Mr Hussain was part of a group which hijacked the airliner - which had 197 people on board - after it left Sudan on August 27 1996.

Mr Hussain and others had surrendered at Stansted and claimed asylum, then been arrested.

Mr Hussain told the judge in a witness statement: "We had no choice but attempt to leave the country in the manner that we did by hijacking the Sudanese Airbus."

But in 1997, Mr Hussain - and others - were tried and convicted for their respective roles in the hijacking. Mr Hussain was given a five-year prison sentence, said Judge Dingemans.

A year later, appeal judges had quashed convictions and no retrial was ordered, he added.

Mr Hussain had been released and had resumed his fight to stay in the UK - and Judge Dingemans on Friday outlined a series of applications and decisions by officials stretching over more than a decade.

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