Foiled airline bomber challenges release refusal

A man jailed for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner today challenged the Government's refusal to accept the Parole Board's recommendation to release him.

Nezar Hindawi, who is serving what is believed to be the longest specific jail term imposed by an English court, was sentenced in 1986 for attempting to blow up an El-Al aircraft flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv.



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



Hindawi's counsel, Tim Owen QC, told Lord Justice Thomas and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies at London's High Court that Justice Secretary Jack Straw's November 2009 decision - adopted by his successor Kenneth Clarke - was irrational and unlawful.



He said that the Secretary of State had been "implacably opposed" to Hindawi's release throughout the parole process.



He was represented throughout the current parole review, and argued vigorously against release, including making written submissions before any evidence had even been heard.



Following the Parole Board's decision, he moved from being a party to the process to being the decision maker, deciding not to release Hindawi for essentially the same reasons as he had advanced before the Board, and which it had comprehensively rejected after careful consideration.



Counsel said: "The key issue is to what extent is the Secretary of State entirely free to form his own view without in effect giving any weight at all to the views of the Parole Board."



"His approach in reality is that he is entirely free to ignore the Board and can reach his own view, despite the fact there was a four-day oral hearing and that he is not an appropriate decision-maker and lacks the expertise and independence which the Parole Board has."



He told the judges: "The fundamental question, accepting as you must that historically this was a decision which was in the hands of the Secretary of State, is what is the Secretary of State's duty when looking at this recommendation?



"His case is that he attaches whatever weight he chooses, and that if it is none at all, that's OK.



"Our case is that, because of its complexity and the fact it was an oral hearing, this was a decision taken by an independent expert body which should have attracted the very greatest weight."



Hindawi won the right to a parole hearing after a long legal battle.



His release date falls in May 2016 but he became eligible for parole, after serving one third of his sentence, in April 2001.



The Home Secretary refused to allow his early release in April 2003.



The current contested hearing is expected to last up to two days.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment