Malta jails Libyan plane hijacker for 25 years

Malta jails Libyan plane hijacker for 25 years

One of two Libyan men who hijacked a plane and diverted it to Malta four years ago has been jailed by a Maltese judge.

Soko Moussa Shaha Ali pleaded guilty and was jailed for 25 years on Wednesday.

His co-accused partner, Ali Ahmed Saleh, is like him from the southern Libyan city of Sabha, but is still awaiting trial and has denied involvement.

The Afriqiyah Airlines Airbus 320 was on an internal flight to Tripoli when it was hijacked on December 23, 2016 by the men, supporters of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

They threatened to blow up the plane unless their demands were met, but the Maltese government refused to negotiate before the 109 passengers on board were released.

The hijackers, one of them flying the all-green former Libyan flag, surrendered after four hours without ever making their demands clear. Their weapons turned out to be fake.

Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera said that although no one was injured, the court had to show that it took such acts very seriously.