Tuesday March 20, 2018
DAVID HALLETT/STUFF - Asha Ali Abdille was released from prison in February 2017 after serving all of the nine-year jail term she received.
Plane hijacker Asha Abdille will have to fight for the $25,000 compensation payout awarded to her because of the wrongs she suffered in the corrections and criminal justice system.
Her victims – who included two pilots injured when Somali-born Abdille hijacked a plane flying between Blenheim and Christchurch in February 2008 – had until last Friday to make a claim for a share of the money.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed four claims have been received, but would not give details. Abdille has two months to respond to the claims.
It was revealed in October that $25,000 had been paid into a victims' claims trust account in the name of Abdille, who was freed in February after serving the full term of her nine-year prison sentence.
Two of the hijacking victims said at the time that they were considering making claims. One said she would rather the money go to charity than to Abdille.
Another said he did not want Abdille to profit from her crimes.
A judge of the Victims Special Claims Tribunal decides how the money will be awarded.
The tribunal's decisions are not public, to protect the victims, but the outcome showing distribution to victims and Abdille should be publicly notified.
Abdille, who arrived in New Zealand in 1994, had a long history of mental health problems and had more than 20 convictions by the time she tried to hijack the plane.
In February 2014, a Parole Board decision said she had been involved in a high number of incidents and misconducts in prison. "One of those resulted in her being seriously injured."
Abdille was living in Blenheim and working on vineyards when she hijacked the plane.
The pilots, Dion McMillan and Ross Haverfield, received the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association Polaris Award for bravery for landing the 19-seater plane during the incident, and then confronting Abdille.
Haverfield was stabbed in the foot, and McMillan needed extensive surgery to repair a wound to his hand and was off work for an extended period.
A passenger who tried to speak to Abdille also suffered a knife injury.
The Parole Board could not delay Abdille's release past February 2017, but it set conditions including that she take treatment and counselling as directed, and not enter any airport or travel on any plane.
In its final decision, the board said she had spoken of trying to hijack another plane and there were concerns about potentially risky behaviour in the future.
The Department of Corrections would not say what had happened to Abdille after her release.