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Airliner hijacker found working for British Airways

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A man who hijacked a domestic flight over Afghanistan has been found to be working for British Airways.

34-year-old Nazamuddin Mohammidy was one of nine men who forced the Ariana Airlines airliner to divert to the United Kingdom's Stansted Airport in 2000. A standoff followed for the next 70 hours with the men, who had guns and hand grenades, threatening to kill all 160 on board unless asylum was granted to them. The men ultimately gave themselves up to police and SAS.

Mohammidy was jailed for 30 months but he and the other eight had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal, claiming the Taliban was subjecting them to "medieval and brutal tyranny" forcing them to flee. They went on to win a High Court case to prevent their deportation.

It has since emerged that British Airways have employed Mohammidy to clean their offices, including a training center one mile from Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport. It came to light when police officers stopped him near Terminal 5 believing he may be an unlicensed taxi driver, but he was able to suppply a worker's pass. He is now facing unrelated charges concerning an alleged assault on his landlord.

Cquote1.svg It would be an outrageous and potentially devastating breach of security if a former hijacker had access to British Airways property near the airport and a pass allowing him access to secure areas. Cquote2.svg

David Davis

The Conservatives have used this as an opportunity to attack the current Labour government. Shadow home secretary David Davis said "It would be an outrageous and potentially devastating breach of security if a former hijacker had access to British Airways property near the airport and a pass allowing him access to secure areas. Days after it was revealed that foreign airside workers at our airports do not have to pass proper security checks it is clear the Government do not have a grip on airport security."

British Airways say he did not have a pass to allow him onto the tarmac at Heathrow and did not work inside the airport, but he could get into some secure company areas.


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