Libyan plane hijackers charged with terrorism

Valletta, Dec 25 (IANS) Two Muammar Gaddafi loyalists, who hijacked an internal Libyan flight before giving themselves up at Malta, have been charged with a string of offences, including terrorism. Both men pleaded not guilty.

The two Libyan men, 28-year-old Ali Saleh and 27-year-old Moussa Soko, arrived at Malta Law Courts on Sunday escorted by armed guards, Xinhua news agency reported.

They were charged with hijacking the plane and holding the 109 passengers and six crew members against their will.

Both the hijackers denied the charges in court. They did not file a request for bail.

On Friday, the men hijacked the Libyan flight operated by state-run Afriqiyah Airways and diverted it to Malta International Airport. The plane was flying a domestic route in Libya, from the southern city of Sebha to the capital Tripoli.

After a four-hour standoff at the Maltese airport, all passengers and crew were safely released.

The two hijackers surrendered peacefully. They were later found to have used replica weapons for the hijacking.