Bomb plotter wins appeal on sentence after 25 years

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The Independent Online

A terrorist who tried to blow up an aircraft with up to 375 people on board by planting a bomb in his pregnant fiancee's hand luggage has won the right to leave jail.

Two senior high court judges overturned rulings by the former Justice Secretary Jack Straw and his successor, Kenneth Clarke, that Nezar Hindawi must serve two-thirds of his 45-year jail term.

The sentence was the longest specific term on record imposed by an English court and would keep him behind bars until 2016.

In 2009, the Parole Board recommended Hindawi's release but Mr Straw ordered that the prisoner remain in jail. The judges ruled that the information on which Mr Straw based his decision was unbalanced and unfair. As such, they said, the decision, which was backed by Mr Clarke, must be quashed.

Hindawi, a Jordanian, was jailed in 1986 after duping his Irish fiancée, Anne-Marie Murphy, into carrying a bomb as she tried to board an Israeli airliner flying from London to Tel Aviv. Security staff at Heathrow airport found the bomb before it could be taken on board or detonated and a hunt was launched for Hindawi. He gave himself up the following day.

Mr Straw decided in 2009 there was "insufficient evidence" to show Hindawi no longer presented a risk to public safety.

Despite having won the right to be released on parole, Hindawi is to remain in prison for now.