Terrorist plotter won't be let out of jail early

By Marcus Dysch, January 9, 2012

A terrorist jailed for 45 years for plotting to bomb an Israeli passenger jet has lost his legal battle to be released early.

Nezar Hindawi planned to blow up an El Al airplane carrying 370 people in 1986 by planting a bomb in the luggage of his pregnant fiancée.

The Parole Board had previously suggested he be released early and deported to Jordan. But a hearing held in December in front of a three-member Parole Board panel ruled that it was not yet safe to release Hindawi.

The decision, announced on Friday, was made after weighing the benefits for the prisoner and the public, and considering Hindawi's progress in prison, statements, and reports from probation and prison officers.

Now aged 57, Hindawi has been eligible for early parole since 2001. Three years ago the Parole Board recommended he be freed and High Court judges ruled last April that he had been subjected to "flawed and unfair" decision-making and should be granted parole. But successive home secretaries and justice ministers, including Alan Johnson and Ken Clarke, refused to grant him freedom.

Irish national Anne-Marie Murphy knew nothing of the plot 26 years ago. She later gave birth to Hindawi's daughter.

It is widely believed that Syria instigated the attempted bombing on the Heathrow to Tel Aviv flight. The device was discovered by El Al security who stopped Murphy. Hindawi later surrendered to police and was handed what is thought to be the longest-ever specific prison term ordered by an English court.

He must be released by May 2016, when he will be deported to Jordan.

Last updated: 1:55pm, January 9 2012