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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
food + drink
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal for Real Madrid against Juventus
football
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)
film
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power