El Al bomber 'could go free'

Nezar Hindawi

Nezar Hindawi

A terrorist jailed for 45 years in 1986 for plotting to blow up an Israeli plane could be released early after High Court judges ruled against the government.

Nezar Hindawi attempted to destroy an El-Al airliner carrying 400 people by planting a bomb in the luggage of his pregnant fiancée.

The plot was discovered beforehand, and in 1986 Hindawi was handed what is thought to be the longest ever specific prison term ordered by an English court.

He has been eligible for early parole since 2001.

In 2009 the Parole Board recommended freeing him, despite the fact that he had served only half of his sentence.

Successive Labour and Conservative home office and justice ministers, including Alan Johnson and Ken Clarke, refused to allow Hindawi's parole.

Today's ruling by two senior High Court judges was made on the basis that Hindawi had been subjected to "flawed and unfair" decision-making that contradicted the "principles of justice that our law has always applied in cases, however heinous a crime might be".

However, it does not necessarily mean he will walk free; a further hearing will be held to decide whether the Supreme Court should make the final ruling or whether the High Court can overrule Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's decision.

Hindawi, whose legal team say he has renounced terrorism, is set to be released in 2016 and deported to Jordan if his attempt for early parole is unsuccessful.

Last updated: 3:49pm, April 1 2011